Yishai, Deri spar as Shas infighting continues

Tensions are rising once again in Shas over the final placements on the party’s electoral list for the upcoming election.

Arye Deri_521 (photo credit: Reuters)
Arye Deri_521
(photo credit: Reuters)
Tensions are rising once again in Shas over the final placements on the party’s electoral list for the upcoming election, with a dispute over the No. 1 spot on the list being waged between leadership rivals Eli Yishai and Aryeh Deri.
Although the issue was believed to have been settled in the agreement that brought Deri back to Shas, the first position appears once again to be under discussion.
In the compromise deal which saw Deri return as joint party leader along with Interior Minister Yishai and Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias, Yishai agreed to forgo the position of party chairman while retaining the No. 1 spot on the electoral list.
But some Shas party officials are now saying that the order at the top of the list has not yet been finalized.
“The list hasn’t been closed yet and the decision will be made by Rabbi Ovadia [Yosef], those who are close to him in his ‘courtyard,’ and the Council of Torah Sages,” a Deri associate told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
Shas does not hold a primary election, so the order of candidates on the party list is chosen by the party’s Council of Torah Sages, which is comprised of Yosef and rabbis Shimon Badani, Shalom Cohen and Moshe Maya.
The council is only scheduled to convene on Thursday to finalize the party’s slate, just before the official deadline for presenting the completed list at 10 p.m. that evening.
Another Shas official said, however, that a name was agreed upon to head the party list in the deal bringing Deri back to the party and that no changes had been made since then. At the time, it was widely reported that Yishai would be given the number one spot.
The same source added, however, that despite numerous reports, Yishai and Deri were cooperating on election matters and holding amicable, face-to-face discussions.
Tensions have also mounted over the composition of the party list further down the pecking order.
A separate Shas official involved in the party’s electoral campaign said that certain changes might be made to the remaining spots for the top 10 candidates “to refresh the list a little and perhaps bring in some new and younger faces.”
Both Yishai and Deri are understood to be pressing hard for their respective allies to receive any new places that become available in the top 10 spots.
In a poll published on Thursday by the Panels Politics polling institute for the Knesset Channel, Shas was predicted to take 10 seats in the upcoming election.