Arye Deri 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Shas chairman Eli Yishai and his number two, Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Atias, allowed Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s image to be harmed by not coming out against posters seen as disrespectful to the rabbi, former Shas leader Arye Deri said on Thursday.
The posters, which were plastered throughout haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, looked like they were promoting the return of Deri to the helm of Shas without Yosef’s blessing. They bore the slogan “The majority decides, not the rabbi,” using words that sound similar in Hebrew.
While Deri loyalists initially thought the posters had been put up by supporters of Yishai, they later found out that the culprit was far-Right activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is concerned that a Deri comeback could shift votes from the Center- Right bloc to a possible Kadima-led Center-Left coalition.
Deri filed a complaint with police against Ben-Gvir, and he attacked Yishai and Atias in a radio interview.
“Anyone who loves Maran [a respectful title given to Yosef] should have
deplored the [posters],” Deri told the haredi station Kol Barama.
“The heads of Shas, Eli Yishai and Ariel Atias, should have given
interviews saying they condemned the people who harmed Maran in order to
harm Arye Deri. I don’t need them to defend me – but where is their
defense of Maran? I will use any tools necessary to prevent harm to
Maran,” Deri said.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is a friend of Deri, came to his
defense in an interview with Israel Radio and welcomed his forthcoming
return to political life.
“I hope he does come back to politics,” Lieberman said. “In politics, we
have a lack of experienced and skilled people who can make good
decisions. It doesn’t matter what political framework he chooses.”
Asked whether he was concerned about polls indicating that Deri’s return
could bring the Left to power, Lieberman said: “Whoever says that
[could happen] doesn’t understand Deri. No one goes into politics with
the goal of breaking blocs.
They come to advance what they believe in and implement their outlook, and that’s what he will try to do.”