Estranged Shas MK Haim Amsalem reiterated Wednesday that there is no way, and "no power in the world" that can make him return his mandate to Shas.
Sharply criticizing the Shas party, Rabbi Amsalem told Israel Radio that the party was created and runs on the platform of raising the status of Mizrahi Jews, but in reality just caters to the haredim. He added that if they legislated along the lines of their party platform, that they could have 25 mandates.
Amsalem, however was careful to distinguish between the hostilities he is experiencing within the Shas party and its spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. "I have known Ovadia long before all of these hitchhikers jumped on the bandwagon," he said, and went on to praise the Rabbi's various accomplishments over the years.
Asked whether he is experiencing any backlash in the orthodox street over his fallout with the popular Shas party, Amsalem said that people are standing behind him. He added that people approach him and tell him not to back down.
Discussing what political parties he would consider joining, Amsalem responded, "My connection is to the people and everything is an option." He added that he has been approached by many parties, including Labor and Likud, in addition to the seemingly more natural right-wing Habayit Hayehudi and National Union.
Questioned about the possibility of joining the Labor party, Rabbi Amsalem said that the party's secretary-general had approached him.