(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Several lawmakers joined the Good Deeds Day festivities and volunteer efforts Tuesday, but at least one – Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich – saw a darker side to the activities, calling them an inappropriate connection between politicians and the wealthy.
Yacimovich pointed out that Good Deeds Day was invented by Bank Hapoalim’s owner.
“The billionaire Shari Arison decided it’s a holiday, and it became a holiday,” Yacimovich wrote on Facebook.
“‘Good Deeds Day’ is the name of this ostentatious and trivial day, in which, with the power of her great wealth and not any other authority, Arison preaches to you and activates you with the spiritual new-age messages of a guru.”
From Bank Hapoalim alone, Arison made a dividend of NIS 114m., Yacimovich added, and that is because of “heavy interest on your overdraft and extremely high fees.
“The truth must be told: The more trouble you’re in, the richer Shari Arison gets,” she wrote.
Instead of having Good Deeds Day, Yacimovich suggested, Bank Hapoalim should lower its fees and pay interest on deposits.
She also recommended that Arison follow the example of finance billionaire Warren Buffett, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and commit to giving most of her wealth to charity.
Yacimovich criticized the Knesset for “adopting this public relations nonsense,” but gave credit to most MKs for ignoring it.
“I naively thought that MKs get a salary in order to do good deeds for the public that elected them all year,” she wrote. “Now, I learned that I need Arison’s spiritual guidance to do it.”
She criticized MK Merav Ben-Ari (Kulanu) who led efforts to get lawmakers to volunteer on Good Deeds Day, with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein’s blessing, and wondered how Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon can claim he’s fighting the banks’ monopoly, while “scratching the back of the largest controlling shareholder.”
In addition, the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee held a special meeting marking the day.
“It’s important for public leaders to serve as a personal example to all of Israel on this day,” Ben-Ari wrote in a letter to all 120 lawmakers.
Responding to Yacimovich in a Facebook post of her own, Ben-Ari said the Zionist Union MK is not looking at the positive side of the day.
“If my crime is that I worked with an organization to do good deeds, then I admit to my crime without regret,” she wrote.
“I do good deeds every day, all year and throughout my life. I don’t need a special day, but if there is one, I will happily join it,” Ben-Ari wrote. “[Yacimovich’s] post will be forgotten after a day or two, but the good deeds that thousands of volunteers did today will remain in the hearts of the people giving and receiving.”