The secular branch of the Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi-New National Religious Party) demanded an apology, Friday, from Rabbi Shalom Cohen, the newly-inaugurated president of the Sephardic-hareidi Shas party's council of Torah-sages. Referring to his harsh words for other hareidi rabbis and religious Zionists during the last elections, the Jewish Home secular leadership said, "Love of Israel is not a dirty word, and in the midst of Passover, the public deserves more unspecified love and certainly not the opposite." The comment was also a reference to the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva, who died between Passover and Shavuot because of needless hate.
Noting that Rabbi Cohen was appointed by Party Chairman Aryeh Der'i, religious Jewish Home Member of Knesset Uri Orbach wrote on his Facebook page, "Until now they have told us that in Shas the rabbis appoint the politicians and not vice versa." He asked, "What will happen if, Heaven forbid, the rabbi suddenly does not listen to the voice of Der'i? Who will oust whom?"