Former Shas Lawmaker Rafi Elul: Herzog-Peretz Affair Is Behind Us

Former MK says he does not feel ethnic discrimination is a problem in Israel.

The traditional Mimouna party at former Labor MK Rafi Elul's house in Mazkeret Batya will be held tonight, a day late.

Elul told Haaretz yesterday he did not feel ethnic discrimination was a problem in Israel. Referring to the Herzog-Peretz affair, Elul said, "I think [MK Isaac] Herzog explained what he said and MK Amir Peretz also made himself clear. The whole affair is behind us."

Amir Peretz with Isaac Herziog, 2006
David Bachar

"I won't deny that there are cracks in the Israeli melting pot here and there," he said. "It's easiest to say there's an ethnic problem. I prefer to say if there's a problem, let's address it. But I don't feel there's a problem. I'm the best example of this. Born in Morocco, I came to Mazkeret Batya, a veteran, mostly Ashkenazi community, and at a young age I was elected council head. I advanced in the Labor Party until I reached the Knesset."

Asked who would be among the Mimuna guests, Elul said: "President Shimon Peres is a regular guest. When Yitzhak Rabin was prime minister he used to come every year. His wife Leah continued coming after he was murdered and until she died. Their daughter Dalia still comes. But this is not a party event. The best thing about it is that it has become a tradition where people from all Knesset factions and all ethnic backgrounds meet. My wife and I have turned all the people we've met over the years into one family through Mimouna. We're glad this tradition is being upheld."