The recently appointed Shas leadership troika of Ariel Attias, Aryeh Deri and
Eli Yishai met together with the party’s MKs in Jerusalem Wednesday afternoon to
discuss preparations for the coming general election.
Deri returned to
the party two weeks ago in acrimonious circumstances after 13 years out of the
political realm, following his imprisonment for bribe-taking.
was bitterly opposed by then-party chairman Yishai, leading to a compromise deal
in which a three-pronged leadership was established; the position of party
chairman was temporarily suspended; and a final decision on party leadership was
left until after elections.
During the meeting, Deri – Shas’s campaign
chairman, in charge of logistical matters during the election season – informed
the assembled party dignitaries of appointments to regional Shas election
branches and of the “enthusiasm” on the ground of party activists following the
leadership unity deal.
“The goal at the moment is to gain as many seats
as possible to strengthen Shas,” Deri said during the meeting. “This is the only
goal and we all need to unite around it,” he added.
Speaking to The
Jerusalem Post this week, a Shas insider said that despite the presentation of
the triumvirate leadership as being equal in all regards, more and more
authority within the party is being assumed by Deri.
Wednesday’s meeting were issued by Deri’s staff, whereas such gatherings until
now had been arranged by Shas MK Avraham Michaeli’s office.
meeting, it was decided that several Shas MKs would be appointed as regional
branch heads, including Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi and MKs Nissim
Ze’ev, Meshulam Nahari, David Azoulay and Michaeli.
Yishai, who is also
interior minister, gave a review of the party’s achievements in the 18th Knesset
and in government.
“Great efforts were made, and a long list of
achievements were obtained which were important for the public,” he
Attias, who is responsible for campaign public relations and also
has a sizable role in Shas’s election strategy, called on the regional campaign
heads to emphasize the party’s legislative achievements, including successful
efforts to stymie “anti-religious legislation presented during the last Knesset
He added that his public outreach campaign will include a series
of messages based on the Shas campaign strategy, which is currently being
Attias also took the opportunity to take a swipe at Kahlon,
who is seemingly considering forming a new party to run in the elections on the
back of his appeal to Sephardi voters.
“There is only one camp, which is
Shas – who are the only ones to have succeeded in shifting the entire political
system... All of a sudden everyone wants to be Sephardi,” said Attias.