Shas co-chairman Arye Deri said Saturday that the party's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, had suffered a small stroke earlier in the day.

Yosef was rushed to hospital after collapsing during prayers in synagogue on Saturday morning.

The 92-year-old rabbi was evacuated to Hadassah University Medical Center, in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.

Deri told Channel 2 that the stroke "did not do much damage," but they were still worried and he would remain under observation at the hospital.

Deri said that he spoke with Yosef and the rabbi's "clarity and concentration appeared unaffected" by the stroke.

President Shimon Peres called Yosef's son Rabbi Moshe Yosef on Saturday night and expressed hope that he would return home soon in full health. Peres said that Yosef has always prayed for peace in Israel, and that today Israel prays for his recovery and well-being.

Rabbi Moshe Yosef thanked the president for his blessing and mentioned that the rabbi was feeling better but doctors have advised him to remain in the hospital for the time being in order to monitor his condition.

Peres sent his well wishes to the family and requested that Yosef personally deliver his message to his father. 

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A Smith Research poll conducted earlier this week for The Jerusalem Post predicted that Shas would win 10 seats in the upcoming January 22 election.

However, the party has come under fire of late for airing two controversial campaign ads, which have since been removed, and for introducing a smartphone application to receive blessings from Yosef that was deemed illegal by the Central Election Committee.

Speaking to Channel 2 on Saturday, Deri refused to apologize for one of the commercials, which criticized the state's conversion policy. He rejected claims that the advertisement was racist against immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

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