Tensions are rising once again in Shas over the final placements on the party’s
electoral list for the upcoming election, with a dispute over the No. 1 spot on
the list being waged between leadership rivals Eli Yishai and Aryeh
Although the issue was believed to have been settled in the
agreement that brought Deri back to Shas, the first position appears once again
to be under discussion.
In the compromise deal which saw Deri return as
joint party leader along with Interior Minister Yishai and Construction and
Housing Minister Ariel Attias, Yishai agreed to forgo the position of party
chairman while retaining the No. 1 spot on the electoral list.
Shas party officials are now saying that the order at the top of the list has
not yet been finalized.
“The list hasn’t been closed yet and the decision
will be made by Rabbi Ovadia [Yosef], those who are close to him in his
‘courtyard,’ and the Council of Torah Sages,” a Deri associate told The
Shas does not hold a primary election, so the
order of candidates on the party list is chosen by the party’s Council of Torah
Sages, which is comprised of Yosef and rabbis Shimon Badani, Shalom Cohen and
The council is only scheduled to convene on Thursday to
finalize the party’s slate, just before the official deadline for presenting the
completed list at 10 p.m. that evening.
Another Shas official said,
however, that a name was agreed upon to head the party list in the deal bringing
Deri back to the party and that no changes had been made since then. At the
time, it was widely reported that Yishai would be given the number one
The same source added, however, that despite numerous reports,
Yishai and Deri were cooperating on election matters and holding amicable,
Tensions have also mounted over the composition
of the party list further down the pecking order.
A separate Shas
official involved in the party’s electoral campaign said that certain changes
might be made to the remaining spots for the top 10 candidates “to refresh the
list a little and perhaps bring in some new and younger faces.”
Yishai and Deri are understood to be pressing hard for their respective allies
to receive any new places that become available in the top 10 spots.
poll published on Thursday by the Panels Politics polling institute for the
Knesset Channel, Shas was predicted to take 10 seats in the upcoming election.