Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the 92 year old spiritual leader of the Sephardic-haredi
Shas party, expressed his satisfaction with the results of last Tuesday’s
elections during his weekly Torah lecture on the ultra-orthodox Kol Berama radio
station on Saturday evening.
Addressing party activists who campaigned on
behalf of Shas, Yosef said that they had “worked hard with all of their strength
to strengthen the power of the Torah and helped to gain fifty thousand votes
more” than in the 2009 Knesset elections. “They worked days and night so that
our party would succeed,” he said.
Despite getting these extra votes,
however, Shas did not increase its representation for the nineteenth Knesset,
maintaining it’s current standing at eleven mandates. Shas obtained 331,800
votes totaling 8.75 percent of the total cast.
Yosef’s comments -while
not addressing the challenges posed to Shas by the Koah L’hashpia party of
popular outreach Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak and the Am Shalem movement of Shas
renegade Rabbi Haim Amsalem- seemed to indicate the elder Rabbi’s relief at his
party’s ability to weather the challenges of these two newcomers.
challengers to the dominance of Shas within the Sephardic community garnered a
total of 1.94 percent of the vote.
Those who campaigned for Shas, Yosef
stated, should “merit the blessings of a bountiful, long life [full of] respect,
honor and wealth.”