Israel Elections 2019: Everything you need to know
- Current MKs: 8
- Poll position: 7-8
Shas chairman Aryeh Deri has emphasized his party’s social-welfare credentials ever since he returned to lead the party in 2013, and the interior minister has continued to campaign on Shas’ achievements in this realm in the current campaign.Deri has said his party will work towards increasing the minimum wage by NIS 1,000 to NIS 6,300 over the course of the next Knesset, and has also promised “free education from age zero.” In addition, the Shas leader has promised to advance “blanket exemptions for municipal tax” for poor neighborhoods, discounts on electricity and water bills for the poor, and the expansion of free dental care for children, adults and the elderly.Despite these lavish spending promises, Deri has said he believes Israel’s growing budget deficit can be reduced without raising taxes. As an ultra-Orthodox party, the Shas leader also insists on preserving the so-called status quo on religion and state affairs, such as preserving the ban on public transport on Shabbat and the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate’s control over Jewish religious life and personal status issues.Deri has said repeatedly that Shas will only recommend current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next government. He has however said that he would be happy to sit in a government with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz if he separates his Israel Resilience party from its union with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid.