Shas MK Cohen becomes a 'knight'

MK Amnon Cohen (Shas) will receive the prize "Knight of Quality Government for 2006" for his outstanding parliamentary work as chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee. The prize was created by the Movement for Quality Government. Former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner, who heads the committee that chose Cohen unanimously, notified Cohen Tuesday. The recognition of Cohen's parliamentary work is refreshing to Shas, as it comes at a time when two other serving Shas MKs, Shlomo Benizri and Yair Peretz, and former MK Ofer Chugi are involved in criminal cases. "This prize brings honor to Shas, Eli Yishai and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef," said Cohen. Cohen joked that when he received the phone call from Dorner he thought at first that something was wrong. "There is definitely tension between Shas and the judiciary," said Cohen. Cohen, who is number three on the incoming Shas list, said he was particularly proud of two bills he oversaw during his one-year stint as chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee. The first was an increase in road safety funding which was achieved without a tax increase, and the second was a consumer protection bill that forced appliance retailers to keep in inventory replacement parts for up to seven years. Cohen, who is Shas's representative for the Jewish Bukhara community, said he saw himself as a natural choice for a ministerial portfolio in the government coalition to be formed soon. Shas chairman Eli Yishai is expected to receive the Interior Ministry, while Cohen said he was interested in either the Communications or Housing portfolios, though the final decision would be made by Shas's Council of Torah Sages, headed by Yosef.