Shas is illegally using its Rabbi Ovadia Yosef smartphone application by
offering blessings from the party’s spiritual leader, religious freedom advocacy
group Hiddush complained to the Central Election Committee.
Shas unveiled the app – called Maran Shelita, a Hebrew acronym for “the great
rabbi, who should live a good and long life” – which can be used to request
blessings from Yosef. Those who download the application can also watch a speech
by the rabbi, a video about his life and a daily lesson in Jewish
The Maran Shelita app does not condition blessings from Yosef on
voting for Shas. However, Hiddush demanded that Central Election Committee
chairman Justice Elyakim Rubinstein investigate whether the application breaks
the Election Law, which forbids the use of blessings, talismans and curses in
Hiddush chairman Uri Regev pointed out that there is a
“long-standing tradition in Israeli elections of giving out talismans, on the
assumption that by the time they are told not to, it will be too late.
Therefore, it is especially important that Justice Rubinstein investigate the
“Every party should know that it cannot undermine the
rule of law and democracy through blessings, curses and talismans, which have an
inappropriate influence on voters,” Regev added.
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