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The sonorous blare of Spanish-style trumpets and a hearty "ole" normally heard at the beginning of a bullfight or a soccer game, introduce Shas's new campaign jingle, revealed for the first time Monday.
"Shas for the sake of our Torah," sings Avner Shem-Tov, a part-time vocalist and fulltime Shas functionary, in a gravelly tenor. "Shas for the sake of our children, Shas for the sake of our future."
Shem-Tov categorizes the musical style "pure Mediterranean." To an untrained ear the music has strong Arabic influences.
Neither Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas's spiritual mentor, nor Eli Yishai, Shas's chairman, are mentioned in the jingle. But this fact does not disturb Shem-Tov.
"When I sing about 'our Torah' I am alluding to Rabbi Ovadia and when I sing about 'our children' or 'our future' I am talking about Eli Yishai."
A Shas spokesman said the jingle would be the background music for Ovadia and Yishai as they step on to the stage at the Nokia (Yad Eliyahu) stadium on February 28 for Shas's grandiose election rally.
"So it is unnecessary to literally mention them," said the spokesman. "People will understand from the context."
Yishai, 43, has taken a more dominant role in the present election campaign. For the first time since he took over the political leadership of Shas in 1999, pictures of Yishai adorn the sides of buses and billboards alongside pictures of Yosef.
Asked about the timing of the jingle, unveiled when most parties have toned down campaigning in deference to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's critical medical condition, a Shas spokesman replied, "everybody is up to their necks in politics behind the scenes. We have the honesty and integrity to admit it.
"Besides, the jingle was composed way before Sharon's condition became known."
Commenting on the ramifications for Shas of Sharon's sudden disappearance from the political scene, a Shas spokesman estimated that it would have little impact.
"All the polls show we are pretty stable at around ten to 12 mandates," said the spokesman. If anything, we are hopeful that some of the people who abandoned the Likud for Kadima will end up with Shas."
Shas's jingle ends with a bold statement, "Shas is the only party that remained true to the people and the state."