Feuding Shas MKs Eli Yishai and Aryeh Deri met this afternoon (Wednesday) for a reconciliatory meeting after reports surface of a less-than-cordial relationship between them in recent months.
The meeting was short, lasting only some 25 minutes, with "a sense of obligation throughout the conversation, where each of them spoke from the heart" reported Shas representatives to Arutz Sheva. The conversation mostly revolved around Deri's feelings toward former Shas party leader Yishai, who Deri has since replaced, and the complications that are inherit in a successor-predecessor relationship.
This is the first expected meeting in a series of scheduled conferences between the two.
Shas representatives also added that both sides acknowledged recent sentiments supporting Yishai over Deri within the movement. Ultimately, they said, the meeting concluded without a definitive agreement, but rather in a positive spirit and with a focus on mutual cooperation.
In a party meeting held tonight, Shas representatives expressed doubts over the possibility of a lasting Yishai-Deri friendship, only adding that they "wish to see the party chairman [Deri] change his relationship with Eli Yishai."
In an interview with religious radio station Kol B'Rama, Yishai stated that the meeting was a positive experience, adding that the reconciliation stems from a drive to see "what Maran [Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef] would have wanted" him to do "before the Jewish people." Yosef, the pinnacle leader of the Sephardic religious and political movement who passed away earlier this month, is of supreme importance to the Israeli Sephardic majority as a religious and cultural icon.
Earlier this month, Yishai had been advised against attending Rabbi Yosef's memorial service, due to political pressures from Deri, who allegedly saw Yishai as a major threat.