Arye Deri and Eli Yishai.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Shas chairman Arye Deri declared on Monday during a faction meeting in the Knesset that unity had been achieved within the party, referring to the long-running feud between himself and former chairman Eli Yishai.
“Gentlemen, we are all united,” he said.
Deri is thought to have offered Yishai the No. 2 spot on the party’s electoral list as well as a ministerial portfolio should Shas join the next government.
Despite Deri’s announcement, sources close to Yishai said that nothing had been agreed, and the MK himself was absent from the meeting, reportedly entering only after the press left.
“Not everyone is here, some are tending to other duties,” Deri said of Yishai’s absence.
“I am very moved by the tears of worry that have been shed for Shas in recent days,” he said sarcastically, referring to the speculation surrounding Yishai and any possible move he might make to split from the party, either to establish his own political movement or to join forces with other political players.
“Shas is united, take this off your daily agenda. There was a small problem between the spouses, but like in all families we came to an arrangement. Thank God we have peace in our home, go and search in other places, and if anyone needs a marriage counselor, I am willing to volunteer,” quipped Deri.
Sources close to Yishai, however, said that no agreement had been reached and other options were still open to the disgruntled MK.
Yishai has been examining the possibility of running on a joint list with Tekuma leader and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, who is currently engaged in a dispute with Bayit Yehudi over where Tekuma representatives will be placed on the joint electoral list.
Tekuma is a separate party, but ran in 2013 on a joint list with Bayit Yehudi.
Deri once again denied that any political deal had been reached between the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite haredi MKs Ya’acov Litzman of United Torah Judaism and Yitzhak Cohen of Shas providing crucial votes to approve the transfer of NIS 3.6 billion to the Defense Ministry in a tempestuous hearing of the Knesset Finance Committee earlier on Monday.