Deri and Yishai at Knesset 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s dying wish to keep the party united will be
honored, Shas leader Arye Deri and his predecessor, Eli Yishai, said
A source in Yosef’s family said that although the rabbi had not
left an actual written will, he had told his sons to convey that he did not want
the party to split.
“We know your will,” Deri said at Yosef’s funeral
Monday night. “We are sure you are commanding us all to unite behind the Council
of Torah Sages.”
Deri told Channel 2 on Tuesday that no one could fill
the void Yosef had left behind, but that Yosef had asked the three-man council
to succeed him in his political role. He denied any intention of showing Yishai
“There is no split, and there won’t be,” Deri said. “Shas is
united and will continue to be united.”
When asked about Yishai, Deri
said he had heard his rival repeatedly deny reports that he intended to split
Yishai said Tuesday that he would do everything possible to
maintain party unity in order to honor Yosef. He criticized pundits who were
looking for signs of a split.
Channel 10 reported that party officials
close to Deri had said that if Yishai did not accept Deri’s leadership, he would
be increasingly distanced, because he no longer had Yosef to help
“The party won’t disappear, but it won’t be like it was with Rabbi
Ovadia,” MK Ariel Atias said. “He is not there to make things work.
we are a party with a strong infrastructure all over the country, and that will