Deri ‘uses the rabbis,’ has ‘complete influence over them’ says Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev

Shas chairman controls the four-man council that makes candidates list for Knesset, says veteran Shas politician who did not make the list for the upcoming vote.

Aryeh Deri
Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev spoke out fiercely against party Chairman Arye Deri on Sunday for the manner in which he was recently ousted from the party’s electoral list.
Ze’ev, who was one of the founders of Shas in 1982 first as a local municipal party in Jerusalem and then as a national movement, was denied a place on the electoral list at the last moment on Thursday.
He was known as an ally of former Shas chairman MK Eli Yishai who split from the party in December, and had worked to keep Yishai within the party.
Ze’ev has been agitating recently against Deri, who the MK previously described in conversation with The Jerusalem Post as “a tyrant” because he suspected he was going to either be bumped down the electoral list or ejected from it.
Ze’ev told Army Radio on Sunday he was assured by Deri the day before the deadline for submitting party electoral lists that he would be included, but that just an hour before Shas submitted its list on Thursday he was informed that he would not be a candidate for the 20th Knesset.
“I didn’t have the time to respond to the decision and see if there was a chance of changing the decision of the rabbis,” Ze’ev said in reference to the Shas Council of Torah Sages, which is formally responsible for all party decisions.
He indicated, however, that Deri controls the four-man council and that it effectively rubber-stamps his decisions.
“Arye will say that it was [the decision of] the rabbis, but it is important to remember that he has complete influence over the rabbis on everything related to political issues and the [electoral] list of candidates.
“Of course it is the rabbis who sign off [on decisions] that we then accept, but the one who brings these things to the Council is Arye and no-one else,” observed Ze’ev, noting, however, that the same system was in place when Yishai was in charge.
“It would have been appropriate that at least I would have had the right or the time to defend myself, to give my perspective to perhaps change the decision, but I was informed at the last moment. I didn’t have time to think how to respond because there was nothing to be done.”
Ze’ev said it was clear to him that Deri “unambiguously” wanted him out of the Knesset.
Deri, he added, is “known by his methods and how he behaves and how he directs matters.” The movement and the public will be harmed by the way he was forced out of the Knesset faction, he said.
“I care about Shas, though, and I very much want it to succeed – the movement is in my soul. It’s just a shame that the person who heads it uses the rabbis as he does,” Ze’ev concluded.
Deri’s office said in response that “a man is not judged at a time when he is in pain” and wished Ze’ev well in his future endeavors.