MK Amsalem: Talk of me forming new party is ‘speculation’

Weekend piece in 'Ma'ariv' declares Shas MK to be founding a new, competing haredi party; announces he is active in, and from within, Shas in response.

Haim Amsalem. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file[)
Haim Amsalem.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file[)
Shas MK Haim Amsalem responded on Friday to the speculation in Ma’ariv, according to which he is preparing the ground to form a new party to compete with Shas for the votes of religiously committed Sephardim.
“MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem is a member of Shas and active in it, and from within it, in order to change and amend what is needed, for the benefit of the People of Israel and the Torah of Israel,” his Facebook status declared. “The political conjectures written by Shalom Yerushalmi in Ma’ariv are his own speculations.”
In a piece based on conversations with Amsalem but also purportedly on more conclusive information from unnamed sources close to the legislator, veteran political commentator Yerushalmi drew up the lines for Amsalem's projected new party, which would promote haredi employment and army service, all from a halachically committed standpoint.
Amsalem, 51, is one of Shas’s most outspoken legislators on matters relating to state and religion, perhaps due to the fact that unlike the other MKs, he is a rabbi by training, and does not hesitate to draw on the Jewish sources to prove the importance of working for those incapable of dedicating their life to Torah study, or how the rabbinical establishment should encourage the conversion to Judaism of Israelis with Jewish roots who tied their fate with that of the Jewish people, such as the hundreds of thousands of olim from the FSU who are not halachically Jewish but serve in the IDF.