The Labor Party’s leaders made a pilgrimage to a Druze village Wednesday to the wedding of a son of Israel’s first Druze cabinet member.
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Saleh Tarif, a Labor Party member, was minister without portfolio over a decade ago but lost face when he was convicted of giving a $2,000 bribe when he headed the Knesset House Committee.
The bribe, which went to the head of the Population, Immigration and Border Authority, was an attempt to arrange an associate's status in Israel. Tarif was sentenced to six months of public service and fined 25,000 shekels ($6,460).
“Tarif has provided a significant party-registration pool among the Druze,” said a Labor MK who attended the wedding in the village of Yarka in the north near Acre. “Also, his cousin is the spiritual leader of the community of Moafaq Tarif. You can’t not attend an event like this one.”
Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog was present, along with colleagues including MKs Eitan Cabel, Hilik Bar, Omer Bar-Lev, Revital Swid and Itzik Shmuli. Their party is the senior member in the main opposition party, Zionist Union, an alliance with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah.
Two Likud members were also among the guests: Senior Citizen Affairs Minister Gila Gamliel and Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara.
Bar said it was members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition who should be ashamed, not Tarif.
“If you’re really looking for people under investigation or people convicted of crimes, I can point out several who are members of the coalition, and unlike Saleh Tarif, they’re running the country and our lives,” Bar said.
Herzog’s office added that Tarif’s “contribution and his family’s contribution to Israel’s security is tremendous. It has been years since he paid his debt to society, and his activity on behalf of the Druze in Israel and over the border deserves respect and esteem.”