Deri hits out at Kahlon for not representing ‘weaker sectors’

Shas chairman Arye Deri has hit out at Koolanu leader Moshe Kahlon, accusing him of failing to adequately represent the interests of working- class Israelis struggling to make ends meet.

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February 8, 2015 00:37
1 minute read.
Aryeh Deri

Aryeh Deri. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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Shas chairman Arye Deri has hit out at Koolanu leader Moshe Kahlon, accusing him of failing to adequately represent the interests of working- class Israelis struggling to make ends meet.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the opening of a Shas campaign office in Kiryat Gat on Thursday, Deri continued his strategy of appealing to working-class voters by claiming Koolanu was not talking about the real needs of Israelis on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum.

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“We are the only ones speaking to the weaker sectors of society,” Deri said, according to a report on the NRG website. “I hear that Kahlon is also talking to them but he doesn’t belong. He wants buses on Shabbat, he’s talking about reforms and regulation, this doesn’t affect us, this relates to the middle class.”

Speaking to the election campaign team at the new office, Deri said Shas needed to reach out to “the one million Israelis” to draw their votes. “No one can talk to our public like we can, including Kahlon. They are weak, but they are traditional and respect the Torah. We’re talking about a million people who need flour, because without flour there is no Torah,” Deri said, citing a well-known dictum from the Talmud about the importance of sustaining an economic base to support Torah study and observance.

Deri and Shas have focused heavily on attracting working class, religiously traditional Israelis to the party, many of whom have voted for it in the past because of their affinity and respect for Shas’s late spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Following his death and the political squabbling within its ranks that led former party chairman MK Eli Yishai to split and form a new party, Shas has suffered a significant decline in the polls from its current parliamentary strength of 11 Knesset seats to a predicted result in the coming election of between six and nine.

Shas’s electoral campaign ads have focused on what the party has called “the invisible” Israelis, working-class people who are ignored by other political parties that talk instead of helping the Israeli middle class cope with high property prices and consumer goods.

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