Yishai pressures Deri to run on Shas party list (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 04/10/12)
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Shas chairman Eli Yishai called upon Arye Deri, his predecessor as
leader of the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party, to run together with him
in the next general election.
Ideas have been raised among those closest to Shas mentor Rabbi
Ovadia Yosef in an effort to find a way to enable Deri to run under
Yishai in Shas rather than on two separate lists. One possibility
that has been discussed is to keep Yishai as Shas chairman but make
Deri the party´s top minister.
Yishai addressed the possibility of Yosef blocking Deri from forming
a party Sunday on the Shas radio station Kol Barama.
"It is clear to me that he will not do anything against Yosef´s
will," Yishai said without mentioning Deri by name. "I have no doubt
about that." Yishai said it was important to keep Shas united in the
next election and said that it was Deri´s political home.
The interviewer asked Yishai about the possibility of Yosef endorsing
two lists: Shas for the ultra-Orthodox and Deri´s for traditional and
"There is no such possibility," Yishai said. "Yosef has one Shas and
it is dear to him. I believe that in the end we will all unite under
his leadership." The dispute between Deri and Yishai began in 1999
when Deri was forced to step down as leader of the party after
leading it to 17 Knesset seats. Yosef gave Yishai the job
temporarily "as a deposit" until Deri would return from prison. The
next election will be the first one since then when Deri is legally
permitted to run for Knesset.
Speaking to interviewer Ilana Dayan at the Presidents Conference in
Jerusalem in June, Deri said he planned to lead a party that would be
neither religious nor Sephardi.
“In the next election, I will head a party but not one that will
allow me to represent my voters,” he said. “I am on the way back to
politics in the next election, with God’s help. I can’t say yet in
what framework, but I made the decision over the past year.”
Despite reports to the contrary, Deri did not announce that he would
head a new party and he purposely left open the possibility that he
could return to the chairmanship of Shas in place of Yishai.
“Shas doesn´t have to have the same face it has today,” Deri said.
Polls have shown a Deri-led party could win seven Knesset seats
running against Shas, taking most of its support from Likud and not
Shas. A source close to Deri said Monday that it would be clear to
Yosef ahead of the next election that endorsing two parties would
serve his interests the best. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post
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