Council of Torah Sages, Yosef call on Amsalem to resign

In meeting, Shas spiritual leader, council tells Shas MK to return mandate he received from group's leader and resign from the Knesset.

November 22, 2010 23:36
1 minute read.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The Council of Torah Sages and its head, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, on Monday called on Shas MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem to return the mandate he received from the leader of the council and resign from the Knesset.

During a council meeting, convened specifically to discuss the issue of Amsalem and his views on yeshiva stipends and religious conversions, it was decided that if Amsalem does not resign or return the mandate, he will be considered a thief.

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Amsalem: 'I'm not returning my mandate to Shas'

In the meeting, attended by all members of the council and Shas leader Eli Yishai, recent media interviews by Amsalem were heard. According to the secretary of the council, Rabbi Raphael Pinschi, Yosef burst into tears after hearing Amsalem's words.

On Saturday, Yosef slammed Amsalem in his weekly Saturday night sermon, in his first public reference to the maverick lawmaker, who on Wednesday announced that he wouldn’t return his mandate despite the growing animosity toward him in the party’s leadership.

“There are those who speak about yeshivot, as though they were created solely for great Torah scholars who will become rabbis and rabbinical judges, and if that doesn’t suit the person, he should go to work,” Yosef said of Amsalem’s doctrine, without naming him.

Amsalem on Wednesday said that he had no moral right to return his mandate to Shas, since “My place in the Knesset belongs to the public that chose me and supported me.”

However, a direct imperative from Yosef would be very difficult for him to refuse, especially after his spiritual patron, Rabbi Meir Mazuz, told the MK in a letter that his future in Shas was in Yosef’s hands.

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