Deri and Yishai at Knesset 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Former Shas chairman Eli Yishai is unlikely to accept the job of chairman of the
party’s El Hama’ayan education system, which Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
offered him after firing him last week, according to loyalists of Yishai who
spoke to him over the weekend.
Yishai’s supporters said he felt betrayed
by Yosef, whom he served loyally as Shas chairman for nearly 14 years until the
rabbi decided to appoint MK Arye Deri in his place on Thursday.
said on that day that he would need 10 days to decide his future.
thought that because he never manipulated the rabbi, this could never happen to
him,” a Yishai associate said. “He thought Deri would run for mayor of Jerusalem
and let him remain chairman of the party.”
While one Yishai loyalist said
the ex-party chairman would take the El Hama’ayan job if he were given a full
mandate without interference, another said Yishai considered the job too much
work and noted that he already ran the school system in the mid-1990s before he
became an MK.
A consensus of Yishai’s associates said he would not leave
the Knesset, where he will maintain his influence and try to “give Deri
Another possibility floated by Yishai loyalists is that he
run for Jerusalem mayor. But his poor relations with United Torah Judaism
strongman Ya’acov Litzman and the Bayit Yehudi party would make that option
After Yishai failed to show up to the daily prayer service at
Yosef’s house, his longtime confidant, MK Nissim Ze’ev, called to console
“I tried to strengthen Eli, who has accepted his fate despite the
pain,” Ze’ev said.
Deri already held a working meeting with Shas
officials on Friday. Speaking to reporters outside his home that morning, he
sent an olive branch to Yishai and vowed to do everything in his power to serve
“Our first priority will be serving the public,” Deri
“We will see the citizens as our bosses that we serve. That is our
mission. We will be in the field and we will get all our branches working for