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In Israel, politicians in trouble for bribery but with blessings, not money

Shas, the Israeli political party representing Mizrahi Orthodox Jews, was fined 7,500 shekels ($2,150) for giving voters supposedly holy amulets that would purportedly protect voters from the coronavirus, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The amulets included a picture of Shas’ late spiritual founder, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and came in a container with a Biblical quote about the Israelites surviving a plague along with the sentence ““Protection against plague: Corona – and all evils.”

It is illegal in Israel to offer blessings or curses to voters as part of an election campaign. The fine was levied by Israel’s Central Elections Committee.

Shas was also accused of offering voters holy amulets during Israel’s last election in September.

According to the Post, the Central Elections Committee received reports of election-day shenanigans targeting multiple parties, including allegations of voter fraud, ballots being glued to each other, and false claims that parties had dropped out. The committee also ordered the ruling Likud party to stop using limousines to drive voters to the polls in Eilat.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

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