Deri's Demands on Yishai Head Shas for Split

Deri and Yishai 'entrenching in positions' as demands of each become known, split likely barring unforeseen developments.

Ari Yashar ,

Eli Yishai, Aryeh Deri
Eli Yishai, Aryeh Deri
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The details of the demands hareidi Shas chairperson Aryeh Deri on Wednesday leveled for former Shas head Eli Yishai to remain in the party were revealed by Walla! on Thursday - without some unforeseen development, they appear to spell the split of the party.

Deri and Yishai have been rivals since Deri returned to politics after a stint in jail for corruption, during which time Yishai took over the reins of the party. The two are divided in terms of outlook, with Yishai being considered right-wing and Deri leaning increasingly leftward.

The demands were given to Yishai on Wednesday in a document by Rabbi Shimon Ba'adani of the Shas Council of Torah Sages. Currently Yishai is waiting for another meeting with Rabbi Ba'adani, and the final decision of Rabbi Meir Mazuz who is close to him advising him what path of action to take.

Sources familiar with the demands told the Hebrew-language paper that Deri is demanding that Yishai get permission from him before being interviewed about central issues and public actions that he will want to act on. Likewise he will need permission to be involved with the Shas educational system.

Yishai will also be required to recognize the Shas Council of Torah Sages as having the highest spiritual authority; he was told that not agreeing to any of the points would lead Deri to fire him immediately from his position in the party.

In return for agreeing to the harsh conditions, Yishai would have the number two spot on the party's Knesset list guaranteed to him, and would be given a senior ministerial position in the next coalition if Shas is able to enter it.

For his party, Yishai has demanded to be included in putting together the party's Knesset list as a condition to staying in Shas. He has also asked for additional authorities in managing the party, and for broadening the Shas Council of Torah Sages by adding additional rabbis.

Sources in the party say there has been no meaningful progress in the talks between the two, adding "each one is entrenching in their positions."

Regarding the tensions between the two, a poll on Wednesday indicates Shas voters prefer Yishai, showing that the party under him would have nine seats, whereas if Deri remains at the helm it would only get seven. The same poll showed that if they split, Deri's party would get four seats, and Yishai's would get five.

Yishai has reportedly been in contact about forming a new party with Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the Tekuma faction that ran jointly with Jewish Home in the last elections, but has been frequently at odds with Jewish Home over unifying the parties.

A poll on Thursday found that if the two broke off from their respective parties, together they would have a strong showing getting seven mandates in a new Torah oriented religious-Zionist and nationalist hareidi party.



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