'Blessings to voters from Shas's Yosef illegal'

Hiddush complains to Central Election Committee about Shas's smartphone app offering blessings from party’s spiritual leader.

January 1, 2013 03:54
1 minute read.
Shas's 'Maran Shelita' app

Shas's 'Maran Shelita' app 370. (photo credit: Google Play)

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.

On Sunday, 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 law.

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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 campaigns.

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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 issue urgently.”

“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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