Anti-Zionist haredi tax cheat amnestied by Israeli president mulls naming son after him

(JTA) – An anti-Zionist activist from one of Jerusalem’s haredi communities said he may name his 17th son after Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who freed the man from jail.

Yoalish Krois, a senior member of the Orthodox Council of Jerusalem who was sentenced last year to five months in prison for tax evasion, was released from prison on June 29 following an amnesty given to him by Rivlin, was thus able to be home in time for the birth of his 17th child, a boy, on July 4, Radio Kol Chai reported Tuesday.

“I’m considering naming him after Reuven Rivlin,” Krois told the radio station.

Such homage would be remarkable in light of Krois’s resolute refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the country that Rivlin represents. In a 2007 interview for Makor Rishon, Krois, 45, said that has repeatedly calls on haredim to observe a day of mourning on Israel’s Independence Day because he regards that country’s creation as the “worst disaster to have befallen the Jewish People, worse than the Holocaust and the destruction of the Temple.”

The chief of operations for the vehemently anti-Zionist Orthodox Council of Jerusalem, or Eda Haredit, Krois’ hostility to the State of Israel is hardline even relative to other leasers of that group, which comprises tens of thousands of households. Krois has said he boycotts Israel businesses with support from the government at present or historically, including the Tnuva dairy giant and the Egged bus company. He has been fined repeatedly for refusing to carry an Israeli identity card as required by law, or even have one issued for him.

Krois was convicted in April of running an illegal slaughterhouse for poultry in Jerusalem with an Arab Muslim partner. He never reported his revenues from that enterprise. He had spent fewer than 60 days in prison for his offenses before he was released by Rivlin.

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