Following the Channel 2 report that former Shas leader Rabbi Aryeh Deri refused an offer from Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita to accept the party’s third slot, Deri appears to be basing his decision on polls that signal if he runs as an independent he will earn three seats on his own.
Shas leaders find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Those who do not want to see Deri return as party leader realize if he runs independently, he will be a competitive force against Shas in many ways, and it might be beneficial to have him on board, but Deri has made it clear, top slot or no slot.
Alternatively, it is unlikely that current leader Eli Yishai is planning to step down and it is unclear Rav Ovadia would be willing to accept such an arrangement.
For the time being, Shas continues to try to woo Deri but it appears he is more interested in pursuing a new political career on his own, a move that will leave many more options available to him.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)