Amsallem Condemns Benizri for Comparing Himself to Shalit


chaim-amsalemMK Rabbi Chaim Amsellem, who was expelled from the Shas party, slammed his former colleague and former government minister Shlomo Benizri, after the latter used his early release from prison to compare himself to Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit.

Schalit was held captive by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip for nearly five years before being returned to Israel last October in a prisoner exchange for 1,027 Palestinian security prisoners – the most lopsided prisoner swap in Israel history. Benizri was freed from prison on March 1 after serving two-and-a-half years of a four-year sentence for corruption charges. He was released due to overcrowding in Israeli prisons.

“I understand what pain is, only my pain is worse,” said Benizri, who was convicted of taking bribes, conspiring to commit a crime, breach of trust and obstruction of justice. “[Gilad Schalit’s] pain is pain inflicted by terrorists, but my pain is great too. When I was in prison, this may sound pathetic, but the image that was constantly in front of me was that of Gilad Schalit.”

Amsellem created a new political party last year called Am Shalem (“Whole Nation”) after his rift with Shas. His party’s agenda focuses on uniting the secular and religious sectors in Israel, encouraging the ultra-Orthodox sector to join the workforce, separating religion from politics, campaigning against gender segregation, among other issues.

“He thanks God that he came out of prison sane, but it seems there is something wrong with him,” Amsellem said of his former colleague Benizri. “He perpetuates the ‘I’m entitled’ culture of Shas with celebrations, joy and parties. He should have gone home and kept quiet. To compare himself to Gilad Schalit is chutzpah; he has already taught lessons and seen his family. This is blasphemy.”

Since his release, Benizri has been quite busy. According to Benizri’s son, Natanel, his father will only draw more attention in the future.

“You will hear more and more from him,” Natanel said. “He will not go into a bunker; just the opposite, a void was created, and now charedi people will have someone to speak for them. There will not be a situation in which issues such as the exclusion of women or the Tal Law will be resolved without hearing the charedi point of view.”

On the comparison to Schalit, Benizri’s lawyer, Avi Himi, said, “The media has chosen to omit the most important reference on this subject. Rabbi Benizri said that, to his great sorrow, Gilad Schalit was taken prisoner by evil enemies while he was framed by friends – and that he felt particularly bad about that.”

Himi also said that Benizri told the parole board “that the acts he was accused of were not committed with criminal or malicious intent, but rather innocently. He did not confess to the acts attributed to him.”

{Israel Hayom/ Newscenter}


  1. I dont think you should give a plenum to this amsalem character until he tells us which gadol he follows and supports his cause.

  2. Sorry, Mr. Benizri does not speak for me. Especially since he has the lack of intelligence to compare himself to Gilad Shalit.

  3. “I dont think you should give a plenum to this amsalem character until he tells us which gadol he follows and supports his cause.”

    All of which goes to show how much our anonymous friend #2 has been brainwashed into thinking that any spark of independent thought amounts to ?????????.

    Put another way, what is there in Jewish law or custom to prevent a person from expressing his **own**, original thoughts without some sort of ??????? from somebody else?