Amsalem launches alternative to Shas

By JONAH MANDEL
April 15, 2011 05:48

The "Am Shalem" political movement promises to “promote a unifying and tolerant Jewish approach" by keeping mitzvot, tradition with open-mindedness.

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Shas MK Haim Amsalem

Amsalem 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Maverick Shas MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem has launched a new political movement, Am Shalem, which promises to “promote a unifying and tolerant Jewish approach.”

The movement aims to “combine keeping mitzvot and tradition with open-mindedness, while dealing with the challenges of the era and generation, guided by the great sages of Israel,” he said Wednesday.

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In January, Amsalem announced the formation of the social movement that would strive to “return the crown” of moderate religious and Sephardi social activism to its former glory – as per the founding principles of Shas.

Amsalem believes these values now no longer reflect the spirit of Shas, and this was the basis for the establishment of Wednesday’s new political movement.

Named Am Shalem – the Hebrew translation of Amsalem’s Moroccan name and also the phrase “a whole nation” in Hebrew – the new movement will fight racial discrimination in schools, promote the moderate Sephardi halachic approach in public life, and encourage haredi children to learn core-curriculum subjects and their parents to partake in the labor force.

Amsalem’s outspoken insistence on those principles was part of the reason he was ousted from Shas in November.

According to a poll presented by Am Shalem, 6 percent of the public said there were high or very high chances they would vote for Amsalem’s movement, if it would participate in the next Knesset elections.

Am Shalem also announced on Wednesday it was embarking on “Operation Ten Thousand,” to galvanize public support for the new movement and its leader in the public.


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