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Oslo/Peace Process Party Structures

The Peres-Shas Nexus: A Commentary on the Religious Parties

Just as Shas is partly responsible for the Oslo Agreement, hence, for Oslo’s degradation of Israel, so it is partly responsible for making Shimon Peres, Oslo’s architect president of Israel—the latest degradation of the so-called Jewish state.

The Shas-Peres nexus goes back almost 20 years as may be seen in Attorney Howard Grief’s November 12, 1998 article “Why Israel Needs an Independent Counsel” (a proposal initiated by the present writer).

Grief made an exhaustive study of an improper relationship which existed between the Labor and Shas parties between 1988 and 1996 during which time Peres was the key player.

On January 11, 1993 a special Report of the State Comptroller was published which detailed a cosy relationship between Shas and Labor based on illegal payments made in violation of the criminal laws and the Party Financing Law. The Report stated that a deal was made between the two parties on October 6, 1989 under which Shas agreed to back Labor in the Histadrut elections of that year in return for monthly consecutive payments of 110,000 NIS (about $55,000 in U.S. funds at the time) which were spread out over a three-year period lasting significantly until the end of 1992, six months after the June 23rd national elections.

These political payments by Labor to Shas continued despite a Supreme Court decision in February 1991, which barred any kind of payoffs or financial benefits between parties. By receiving illegal and secret payments, Shas in effect became transformed into a religious Sephardic affiliate of the Labor Party, totally beholden to its wishes in the field of foreign affairs and the peace process.

It was therefore not surprising that the Shas Party under the … spiritual leadership of … Rabbi Ovadia Yosef agreed to join the Labor-Meretz Coalition Government in 1992 which helped to initiate the illegal Oslo peace process and at the same time brought it further financial rewards and political honors.

This was done despite [Shas’s] false promise to its voters to never again join a proposed Labor Government as it was poised to do in March 1990 and despite the fact that its voters belonged largely to the nationalist side of the political spectrum whose beliefs were inimical to the radical leftist [Labor-Meretz] coalition that was being formed [and without which the Oslo Agreement would not have seen the light of day].

The Shas commitment to Labor, born out of an illegal and corrupt deal, allowed Rabin to set up a government with a Jewish majority, without the need to co-opt the Arab parties, a step he ruled out in advance to give a sense of legitimacy to his Government considering that his anti-nationalistic bloc of parties together with the Arab parties neither won the majority nor the plurality of the popular vote, though he did win a majority of the Knesset seats thanks to the Shas switch-over.

However, that legitimacy was totally undermined by the fact that the Shas entry into the Rabin Government was never democratically approved by its own voters who likely would have disapproved of it had they been consulted [something precluded by the lack of direct personal election of members of the Knesset].

The enormity of the corruption that was revealed in the State Comptroller’s Report was stunning. It amounted to outright bribery, public fraud, illegal enticement and solicitation on a scale unprecedented in Israeli political history. It is no exaggeration to say that Labor actually bought the 1992 elections, as the State Comptroller was reported to have remarked in an interview after publication of the Report [emphasis added].

A great outcry greeted the release of the Comptroller’s Report, but … lasted only a day or so and caused no political crisis or demands for a new election. Nor were any legal steps ever taken to prosecute those responsible in the Labor Party for bribing and illegally enticing Shas to join Labor in forming a government [an indication of the absence of the of law in a country whose judicial elites are forever intoning that mantra] …

After the scandal disappeared from view and with no judicial scrutiny because of the inaction of the Attorney-General, Shas continued to benefit handsomely from Labor Party largesse, although now the benefits came in the form of legal Government grants from the coffers of the tax-payers rather than from the coffers of the Labor Party as before….

Now let us recall United Torah Judaism, which, in effect, was promised 290 million shekels to make possible the formation the 2004 Sharon-led coalition government, even though Sharon had adopted the Labor Party’s “unilateral disengagement” Plan.

By making it possible for that ersatz coalition to obtain a Knesset majority, United Torah Judaism signed the death warrant of the 25 Jewish communities in Gaza and northern Samaria. UTJ is therefore complicit in the expulsion of some 10,000 Jews from their homes, farms, and factories, the destruction of their schools and synagogues, hence the humiliation and psychological devastation of their lives.

But let us not forget the culpability of the National Religious Party. That party signed Prime Minister Sharon’s March 2003 coalition agreement which bound the signatories to the Oslo Agreement. That party joined a government whose prime minister was publicly committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state on Jewish soil. Hence, that so-called Zionist party is also responsible for the decline of Israel.

And so the humiliation and shrinkage of Israel owes very much to its religious parties, which may well be deemed more culpable than their decrepit secular counterparts for Israel’s malaise.

Without denying the good deeds of religious parties, I believe Torah Judaism (and Israel) would be better off if religious Jews relegated these parties to the junk heap of history.

But now that Shimon Peres has become Israel’s president, is it not obvious that this country needs a thorough revolution—from top to bottom?

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