Aryeh Deri .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
An explosive cartoon of Shas chairman Arye Deri in Haaretz depicting him as a suicide bomber trying to blow up commerce on Shabbat – and by extension a secular lifestyle – has caused consternation among Haredi political parties and beyond.
The cartoon, drawn by Amos Biderman, was riffing off of the coalition’s attempts – at the behest of Shas and United Torah Judaism – to stop shops and businesses from opening on Shabbat through legislation, and the government’s subsequent decision to pull a vote on the bill this week due to lack of a majority.
The cartoon, published on Thursday morning and titled “Work accident,” shows Deri in a gray suit wearing a suicide-bomb vest, holding a detonator and marching toward a branch of the AM:PM convenience stores which are common in Tel Aviv, many of which are open on Shabbat.
In the second frame, Deri has accidentally blown himself up before reaching the store, with his head, arms and legs being strewn in all directions.
Because Yisrael Beytenu refused to back the bill, the coalition was left struggling badly to garner a majority for it, especially since the opposition refused to offset the votes of absent MKs, including religious services minister David Azoulay who is ill in hospital and Yehudah Glick, whose wife died this week.
Regardless of these obstacles, Deri lobbied with full force for the bill and even sought to persuade Glick
to leave his mourning house to vote for the legislation.
The Shas leader was badly embarrassed, however, when this information came to light, and eventually the bill was pulled from the Knesset’s agenda because a majority could not be secured.
The cartoon’s title “Work accident,” a phrase used when Hamas and other terrorist operatives accidentally blow themselves up while constructing a bomb, was likely in reference to Deri’s actions this week which caused the bill to implode, at least temporarily.
UTJ chairman MK Ya’acov Litzman described the cartoon as “wild incitement” and said that it deteriorates the political discourse in the country.
Shas MK Michael Malkieli said that Haaretz
always finds new ways “to break records of evil, detachment, hatred and incitement toward anyone who doesn’t think like them.”
Even members of the opposition took exception to the cartoon, with Zionist Union MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin calling it “inappropriate to say the least.”