Shas chairman Arye Deri hit out at former party leader Eli Yishai in an
interview on Saturday night, saying that his rival had not helped in the
municipal elections in Elad and elsewhere which contributed to Shas
“Eli Yishai was invited to Elad and he didn’t want to come,” said
Deri on Channel 2’s Meet the Press program. “He was invited to speak but didn’t
want to come.”
Shas candidate Tzuriel Krispal lost out to United Torah
Judaism’s Yisrael Porush in the mayoral race in a city which has a Sephardi
haredi majority and traditionally has had a Shas mayor.
Last year, MK
Yishai fought fiercely against Deri’s return to the party but was unable to
prevent him being made joint party leader, along with MK Ariel Attias and Yishai
himself ahead of the January general election.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef then
appointed Deri party chairman, relegating Yishai to second- class status in the
Shas power structure.
Supporters and associates of Yishai attacked Deri
in the wake of Yosef’s death on October 7 for what they saw as his
politicization of the rabbi’s funeral and of the memorial rally held at the end
of the seventh day of the shiva mourning period.
Yishai was not able to
give a eulogy during the rabbi’s funeral and was prevented from speaking at the
memorial service, while Yosef’s son and new party power broker Rabbi David Yosef
did not mention his name when he thanked Shas officials for their contribution
to the party.
During Saturday night’s interview, Deri called directly on
Yishai to work with him to take the party forward.
“I called on him and I
call on him again now, ‘Eli, come with us, your home is with us, come work
together with us, it’s enough already with these things, it is harming Shas.’
There’s no doubt that reports about division in Shas have hurt the
Yishai and his office declined to reply to Deri’s
Last Monday, Shas canceled a scheduled faction meeting saying
that all party MKs were in the field campaigning for the next day’s municipal
However The Jerusalem Post is aware of a meeting that took
place between Yishai and party ally MK Nissim Ze’ev in the Knesset that
Deri also hit out at Agudat Yisrael, the hassidic party that is part
of the United Torah Judaism Knesset faction, accusing it of handing victory in
the Jerusalem mayoral race to incumbent Nir Barkat by refusing to publicly back
Likud Beytenu challenger Moshe Lion, who was strongly supported by Deri and
publicly endorsed by the Shas Council of Torah Sages.
“It was the haredim
who crowned Barkat as mayor of Jerusalem,” Deri said, meaning the hassidic
groups. “At the last moment, they changed all the understandings that they had
with [Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor] Liberman.”
The Shas chairman then
attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for good measure, saying that despite
the fact that Lion was Likud Beytenu’s candidate, the prime minister had not
publicly backed Lion.Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.
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