Arye Deri of the Shas leadership triumvirate complained that racism still permeates Israeli society in a lengthy message he posted Sunday on his Facebook page.

Deri defended his decision to raise the issue of racism. He complained about discrimination in the job market, in academia and in politics.

He noted that none of the leaders of any of the large parties except Shas was Sephardi, making a point of ignoring Iranian-born Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz. He said no Sephardi is expected to be appointed to any of the top five ministries: Defense, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Education and Justice.

“This not merely a struggle for political jobs for Sephardim but an attempt to change the political reality that affects how Sephardim are treated and how they see themselves,” Deri said.

“Putting Sephardim in senior ministerial positions would change stereotypes and racist outlooks and rehabilitate the self-esteem of our youth.”

He did not mention Likud- Beytenu after he apologized over the weekend for calling it a party of Russians and Whites.

Shas has risen in the polls by two seats since it started its ethnic campaign against Likud- Beytenu.

In an attempt to respond to the Shas’s challenge, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a point of meeting Sunday with one of Likud’s most respected Sephardi figures, former foreign minister David Levy. Netanyahu went to Levy’s home in Beit She’an on the way to a campaign event in Upper Nazareth.

In his Upper Nazareth speech Netanyahu boasted about what he had done to build the infrastructure of the North and help the people of the periphery.

In his weekly Saturday night sermon, Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef called upon yeshiva students to take a break from their Torah studies to “go from house to house to tell people to vote Shas.”

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