According to a Haaretz report, many voters are in a dilemma as they seek to decide if they will go with Shas again or direct their loyalty elsewhere. Yoram Ettinger reports that as many as 5-6 Shas seats hang in the balance, quoting Shas’ internal campaign officials. These voters are now trying to decide if they will remain Shas loyalists or move to HaBayit HaYehudi, indicating the campaign of Naftali Bennett against Shas’ continued control of the interior and housing ministries is impacting eligible voters.
According to pollsters, Bennett’s’ decision to target Shas, to place an emphasis on ministers who are sectarian is having a positive impact for his party, apparently persuading some Shas voters that the chareidi Sephardi party is too concerned with its constituents at the expense of the nation.
Bennett recently told Channel 2 News that placing the control of the religious affairs ministry in Shas’ hands has resulted in a “disastrous situation” and the polls are showing his words mimic the opinion of some Shas voters.
Speaking with Haaretz, Aryeh Deri explained that while he respects Bennett and his right to target an opponent, he feels that Bennett is not going about it correctly, making the assault it too personal, with Deri adding Bennett is forgetting the common concern, the future of the Jewish character of the state. “We don’t have the luxury of fighting one another while the future Jewish character of the state hangs in the balance” Deri is quoted as saying.
Bayit HaYehudi officials told Haaretz it is not about going after Shas, but Bennett feels the need to highlight the dangerous reality that exists, the sectarian policies of ministers, which he feels is unacceptable.
The polls show that Bennett is continuing to pick up support and despite being billed by the mainstream media as a “right-wing extremist party”, Bennett’s experience, high-tech success, oratory skills and other attributes appear to be winning over voters, including those who in the past pledged their loyalties to Shas.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)