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Shlomo Benizri

(1961 - )

Shlomo Benizri is an Israeli politician and former member of the Knesset and Israeli Cabinet.

Beniziri was born in Haifa in 1961. He served in the IDF and was ordained a rabbi at the Or Hachaim Talmudic College in Jerusalem. He lectures on Judaism and is the head of a Talmudic college. He has published two books.

Benizri was first elected to the Knesset in 1992 representing the Shas Party. From 1992-96 he was a member of the Finance Committee and the Anti-Drug Abuse Committee. He also served as head of the Shas Knesset faction. From 1996-99 he served as Deputy Minister of Health.

He served as Minister of Health from July 1999 until his resignation in July 2000. Benizri served as Minister of Labor and Social Affairs from March 2001 until February 2003.

In March 2006, Beniziri was charged by the State Prosecutor's Office with accepting bribes and breaching the public trust. In April 2008, Benizri was convicted of accepting bribes, breach of faith, obstructing justice, and conspiracy to commit a crime for accepting favors worth millions of shekels from his friend, contractor Moshe Sela, in exchange for inside information regarding foreign workers scheduled to arrive in Israel. Three weeks later, a district court sentenced him to 18 months in jail and he resigned from the Knesset the same day. Benizri began serving his sentence on September 1, 2009 in the religious division of Maasiyahu prison in Ramle.

In January 2012, a parole board reduced Beniziri's sentence by 16 months due to good behavior. On March 1, 2012, Benizri was released early; he was one of 600 other prisoners whose sentences were commuted to ease overcrowing in Israeli prisons.

He is married and has seven children.

Sources: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Wikipedia