Shas Gimme Gimme

It's not clear from the Biblical text how many daughters the proverbial leech has, but two are named - "Give" and "Give." Maybe they are twins.

There were times when Shas the bloodsucker contented itself with one "give," showing a certain degree of restraint. The party, which since its inception has not been satiated, at some point finally realized that there's a condition for national responsibility - restraint. At least that's how it seemed for a moment. For a brief moment only.

Shas quickly returned to its old ways, raised its head and in recent weeks has again given full rein to the pleasures of its rule. The wearers of Versace suits and Borsalino hats are letting loose with all their lust.

Shas has begun bombarding along the whole front, and Israel's secular community - a free-floating majority whose silence and submissiveness make you forget its real size - is under attack. Will it ever come to its senses and fight back?

After the so-called Nahari law, which was intended to coordinate the transfer of funds from local authorities to ultra-Orthodox schools, proved to be a bottomless pit, Shas tried its luck with the "jobs law," which currently boils down to two superfluous deputies for the mayor of Jerusalem. And after Shas coerced the wealthier local authorities to subsidize the religious councils in weaker communities, it is ordering the community leaders of Shoham and Elad to set up a religious council, to the displeasure of the people, both religious and secular.

This deep, dark pit called a religious council is not filled with its own ills, but with ours. And in Israel today 133 such pits have been dug and the hand of Shas is extended to dig more. The religious councils are unnecessary entities. Their services could be given for free to anyone who needs them by the local council; they have been created solely to provide sinecures and salaries for party hacks.

Blessed be Herzliya Mayor Yael German among women, for she hath recently eradicated the Hevra Kadisha religious burial society in her town. Now it's possible to die in Herzliya without the corpse enriching any coffers.

But Shas has not yet fired all its ammunition. Its pistol is loaded and pressed to our heads. In the near future it will fire two new legislative initiatives: Businesses will not be granted a license unless they commit to observing the Sabbath, and during Passover leavened products will not be seen in the land, and it's not just a question of public places.

Here it is possible to confess: During the seven days of Passover I eat unleavened bread - matza; it is not my nature to annoy. But the moment they force me to abstain from leavening, I will not stop eating it.

Nor have we forgotten the leader's slander of gays, migrant workers and their children as spreaders of dangerous diseases. Shas will not rest until it has joined the World Zionist Organization, as we were informed this week. O Herzl, who will brush the earth from thine eyes, for even the ultra-Orthodox are coming under thy wing. Wherever official positions are to be had, Shas will always be there.

God has again opened the mouth of the lord and teacher in his recent weekly Saturday night sermons: "Anyone who does not keep the Sabbath is a beast," said the Jerusalemite Aesop Ovadia Yosef, who has also become famous because of his animal fables.

He's right, Ovadia, he knows our souls. The secular Israeli really is a donkey of donkeys - a domestic animal used for riding and carrying loads. And not because we don't keep the Sabbath, but because we are still keeping Shas - which the saving of human lives should have superseded long ago.