Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

29 Kislev 5760 - December 8, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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by Arnon Yaffeh, Paris

French Finance and Industry Minster, Dominic Strauss Kahn, a Jew of Tunisian descent who held key positions in the Socialist Government, has been forced to resign from the Government. He resigned due to allegations that he was involved in corruption.

Two investigating judges suspect him of having charged a French student medical insurance organization 600 thousand francs for false mediation a number of years ago.

Strauss Kahn denies the charge, and says that he resigned in order to prove his innocence. He says that he received this sum as payment for mediation he performed between insurance agencies when he was a lawyer. But investigating judges -- who in France function like the police -- have presented strong proofs in the form of forged documents on which his name appeared as well as testimony by the directors of insurance agencies.

There has been no reaction to his resignation in business circles.

Strauss Kahn had maintained close contact with the Jewish communities. He was very popular in socialist circles, and the socialists hoped that he would run for mayor of Paris. His downfall is a blow to religious Jewish schools in France. Since his appointment as Finance Minister, he has been responsive to the needs of the Jewish educational system, as were his socialist colleagues. Strauss Kahn also influenced Socialist Prime Minister Jospin to force the Education Ministry to change its hostile policy toward Israel and to initiate improved economic ties. In recent months he was even mentioned as a candidate for Prime Minister.

No one mentions Strauss Kahn's Jewish origins in relation to the affair, but the fact always lurks in the background and is comes up in private conversations. The papers are full of condemnations of his as well as his caricature. The Prime Minister has said that he hopes that Strauss Kahn will return to the Government soon.

Strauss Kahn enjoys the immunity of a government minister who cannot be arrested until his guilt is proven. The revelations are meant to topple the Socialist government which, for its part, condemns what it calls "the dictatorship of the judges." The waning Rightist opposition hopes that the affair will revive its own movement. Leading socialists in Paris involved in the affair have until now waged a battle against Mayor Tibri, who was charged with corruption. Now they themselves are being brought to the courts in police vans.

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