Shas launches campaign for upcoming election

Movement says its central goal is focusing the attention on social matters and preserving the Jewish character of Israel.

Ovadia Yosef Shas campaign launch 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Ovadia Yosef Shas campaign launch 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
“Others bring [budget] cuts (kitzusim), Shas brings (ketzizot) meatballs,” joked Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Saturday night in front of 3,000 devotees in Jerusalem, punning on the Hebrew translation of the phrase.
Approximately 3,000 Shas activists, supporters and party officials crammed into the International Convention Center in Jerusalem to hear the rabbi’s words, delivered at the climax of what was billed as the party’s launching event for the January elections.
After several warm-up speeches from the three other rabbis comprising Shas’s Council of Torah Sages, Yosef gave his weekly Torah lesson from the stage. Then he addressed the upcoming elections and Shas’s campaign.
“Shas was established only to bring people closer to Torah,” said Yosef, “to bring back to the heritage of Israel, to strengthen Jewish tradition and to prevent assimilation.”
He praised the new three-pronged leadership of the political party, saying that they would help strengthen the party and prevent assimilation.
The rabbi also lauded Shas’s credentials as a party representing the weaker sectors of society.
“When there are poor people, one has to help them,” he said, adding that anyone who gives charity to the poor will be assured of money himself.
Before Yosef spoke, the new joint political leadership of Shas consisting of Ariel Attias, Arye Deri and Eli Yishai walked out onto the stage together, and were received rapturously by the assembled crowd.
The three other rabbis on the Shas council – Shimon Baadani, Shalom Cohen, and Moshe Maya – also spoke at the gathering, focusing their speeches on Torah lessons and challenges facing the Jewish people.
“The central message of this assembly is unity around Shas’s central goal of ‘restoring the crown to its former glory,’ turning our attention to social matters and preserving the Jewish character of the State of Israel,” the movement said, ahead of the event.
The party said that since the unity agreement was announced three weeks ago, thousands of people had wanted to hear Yosef’s Torah lesson, so it was decided to stage it at the International Convention Center.