Rabbi Chaim Amsellem, who left the Shas faction in the Knesset, announced, Thursday, his support for Eli Cohen, who is vying against incumbent Moshe Abutbul, the Shas candidate in the race for mayor of Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem. Responding to a court decision requiring a new round of voting, Amsellem said, "Beyond the fact that my impression of Eli Cohen is one of values and traditions, Shas and the haredi parties won in Beit Shemesh with mass cheating and forgery, as determined by the court. Its a war of integrity and democracy versus the rot of corruption."
Rabbi Amsellem left Shas because of his support for hareidi integration into the labor force. His independent faction did not receive enough votes in the ensuing Knesset elections for him to retain his seat.