The Moetzas Gedolei Torah of the Shas party convened on Wednesday as planned to give its stamp of approval to the party’s list for the upcoming election for 21st Knesset.
The meeting was held in the Jerusalem Old City home of the head of the council, HaGaon HaRav Shalom Cohen Shlita. In attendance were HaGaon HaRav Reuven Elbaz Shlita, HaGaon HaRav Moshe Maya Shlita, and HaGaon HaRav David Yosef Shlita
The party list follows:
1. Aryeh Deri
2. Yitzchak Cohen
3. Meshulam Nahari
4. Yaakov Margi
5. Yoav Bentzur
6. Michael Malchieli
7. Yinon Azoulai
8. Moshe Abutbul
9. Uriel Boso
10. Shlomo Dahan
11. David Saada
12. Moshe Arbel
Following the meeting, on Wednesday night, Shas released a call for achdus, turning to the spiritual leader of the Yachad party, HaGaon HaRav Meir Mazuz Shlita, Rosh Yeshivat Kisei Rachamim, asking him to add his representative to the party list towards Sephardi unity. Rav Mazuz has not changed his position, which he explains is one supporting achdus, but the representative will only be Eli Yishai, the party leader.
Shas’ Aryeh Deri made it very clear that the call is for any representative of Yachad to be added to the list to the exclusion of Yishai. Hence, there was no deal.
At the conclusion of the council’s meeting on Wednesday night, HaGaon HaRav David Yosef Shlita was selected as the emissary to approach Rav Mazuz and try to persuade him to come on board, on Shas’ terms of course.
On Thursday morning, officials representing Rav Mazuz released statements that without Yishai, there is nothing to speak about. The message on behalf of Rav Mazuz added that he was always in favor of peace and on numerous occasions, he initiated steps towards achdus, but they were always rejected by Shas. The officials in Yeshivat Kisei Rachamim add that in the upcoming Knesset, there will be a need to wage a tenacious battle towards maintaining the Jewish character of the country, as today, there is unprecedented Chilul Shabbos R”L as more and more stores are opening on the holy day. They warn of the increased recognition of Reform Jewry in Israel today, and the delegitimization of the Jewish family unit due to recognition of toeiva couples R”L, the need to pass a new draft law and other matters, all making the coming years and 21st Knesset critical regarding the future of religious Jewry.
Regarding Shas’ adamant opposition to accepting Eli Yishai, the rav is quoted calling for “putting personal arguments aside” and to realize the big picture, to exhibit a willingness to work as a united body, as HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef ZT”L ZY”A called for during his lifetime.
The deadline for submitting the final election lists is on Thursday night at 10:00PM, so there is still time for Shas to amend its list to include Yishai or another candidate approved by Rav Mazuz.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)