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September 03, 1993 - Image 72

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-09-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

SUNDAY NIGHT BASEBALL®
means Rangers and Twins
and...

Troubles Threaten
Rabin's Rule

Israel's coalition government is threatened anew,
this time by the alleged criminal activities of two
Shas party officials.

INA FRIEDMAN ISRAEL CORRESPON

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itzhak Rabin's govern-
ment is in turmoil again.
But the bare facts of the
latest crisis are more
complex than usual because —
in addition to revolving around
two camps that adhere to such
radically different world views
that they often lack a common
vocabulary — the picture that
has emerged over this past
week is one of a political system
at war with itself
The problem was born a year
ago when, in the course of con-
structing his government out of
the centrist Labor, left-wing,
Meretz, and religious Shas par-
ties, Prime Minister Rabin cut
a special deal with Shas.
To soften the unpleasant fact
of accepting a man under crim-
inal investigation into his gov-
ernment, Mr. Rabin — with the
approval of Attorney General
Yosef Harish — accepted a let-
ter from Aryeh Deri in which
the only Shas candidate for a
ministership prromised to
suspend himself when and if
an indictment were brought
against him in court.
(Mr. Deri, now Minister of
the Interior, had been under in-
vestigation for two years by
then, and it was just a matter
of time before a charges would
materialize.)
The words "in court" were
particularly significant because,
as a member of the Knesset,
Mr. Deri enjoyed parliamentary
immunity that would have to
be lifted, by his Knesset col-
leagues, before he could be
brought to trial.
A small sea of ink was ex-
pended on the rights and
wrongs of that accommodation.
But the issue soon died down,
as Israel became involved with
a string of far more pressing
and dramatic affairs.
Then, at the height of an al-
ready exhausting summer —
when Israel was preoccupied
with the aftermath of a mini-
war in Lebanon, the verdict in
John Demjanjuk's appeal, and
a visit by Secretary of State
Warren Christopher — Mr.
Harish raised the temperature
even higher by inaugurating
the process that would bring
Aryeh Deri to court on
charges of fraud, accepting

Aryeh Deri:
A minister in legal hot water.

bribes, and breach of trust.
The attorney general laid the
government's grave indictment
against Mr. Deri before the
Knesset and asked it to lift his
immunity.
At first the long-expected
move barely caused a stir be-
cause the Knesset was at any
rate scheduled to go into recess
until after the High Holy Days.
Meanwhile, the unanticipated
occurred: the Movement for
Quality Government appealed
to the High Court of Justice for
a ruling that would force the
prime minister to fire or sus-
pend Mr. Deri forthwith — that
is, not waiting for the outcome
of the Knesset vote on lifting his
immunity.
The attorney general, Mr.
Rabin assumed, was prepared
to fight the MQG appeal.
But seeing that he would
have to defend the Rabin-Shas
understanding in court, Mr.
Harish reversed his stand of the
previous year. Explaining that
circumstances had changed in
light of the grave charges lodged
against Mr. Deri, the attorney
general presented the prime
minister with a five-page opin-
ion stating that Mr. Deri should
promptly suspend himself from
the government (and, if he re-
fused to do so, that Mr. Rabin
do it for him).
Surprised by the turnabout,
Mr. Rabin stuck to his guns and
would neither sack Mr. Deri or

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