New Shas leadership meet with MKs to plan election

Recently appointed party troika Deri, Yishai and Attias lay groundwork for election strategy, say main goal is to strengthen Shas.

Shas's Arye Deri, Eli Yishai shake hands 370 (photo credit: Shas handout)
Shas's Arye Deri, Eli Yishai shake hands 370
(photo credit: Shas handout)
The recently appointed Shas leadership troika of Ariel Attias, Aryeh Deri and Eli Yishai met together with the party’s MKs in Jerusalem Wednesday afternoon to discuss preparations for the coming general election.
Deri returned to the party two weeks ago in acrimonious circumstances after 13 years out of the political realm, following his imprisonment for bribe-taking.
His return was bitterly opposed by then-party chairman Yishai, leading to a compromise deal in which a three-pronged leadership was established; the position of party chairman was temporarily suspended; and a final decision on party leadership was left until after elections.
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During the meeting, Deri – Shas’s campaign chairman, in charge of logistical matters during the election season – informed the assembled party dignitaries of appointments to regional Shas election branches and of the “enthusiasm” on the ground of party activists following the leadership unity deal.
“The goal at the moment is to gain as many seats as possible to strengthen Shas,” Deri said during the meeting. “This is the only goal and we all need to unite around it,” he added.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post this week, a Shas insider said that despite the presentation of the triumvirate leadership as being equal in all regards, more and more authority within the party is being assumed by Deri.
Invitations to Wednesday’s meeting were issued by Deri’s staff, whereas such gatherings until now had been arranged by Shas MK Avraham Michaeli’s office.
During the meeting, it was decided that several Shas MKs would be appointed as regional branch heads, including Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi and MKs Nissim Ze’ev, Meshulam Nahari, David Azoulay and Michaeli.
Yishai, who is also interior minister, gave a review of the party’s achievements in the 18th Knesset and in government.
“Great efforts were made, and a long list of achievements were obtained which were important for the public,” he said.
Attias, who is responsible for campaign public relations and also has a sizable role in Shas’s election strategy, called on the regional campaign heads to emphasize the party’s legislative achievements, including successful efforts to stymie “anti-religious legislation presented during the last Knesset term.”
He added that his public outreach campaign will include a series of messages based on the Shas campaign strategy, which is currently being formulated.
Attias also took the opportunity to take a swipe at Kahlon, who is seemingly considering forming a new party to run in the elections on the back of his appeal to Sephardi voters.
“There is only one camp, which is Shas – who are the only ones to have succeeded in shifting the entire political system... All of a sudden everyone wants to be Sephardi,” said Attias.