'Shas lost its appeal the moment Rabbi Ovadia Yosef died'

Former Shas MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem says party becoming more like the polarizing Ashkenazi haredi factions, is alienating moderate Sephardim.

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Benny Toker,

Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri
Yonatan Sindal/Flash 90

Former MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem, chairman of the Am Shalem movement and a former member of the Shas party, responded to the recent Channel 10 poll which showed that the Shas party would not pass the electoral threshold if elections were held today.

"You don't need to be a prophet. I have predicted this for a while," Rabbi Amsalem told Arutz Sheva. "Many parts of the more traditional Sephadic population and the more moderate and Zionist [Shas voters] have gone their own ways. And even in my time, after my first disagreement with Shas, they went down to 7 seats."

"The traditional public was connected to Shas for many years because of the magnetism of Rabbi Ovadia [Yosef], who was a true Sephardic leader who reminded them of other Sephardic leaders. But the moment he passed on, the magic faded away.

According to Rabbi Amsalem, Shas has become a haredi party and has become disconnected from the traditional public. "Today, it is a Lithuanian-Sephardic party that does not fight against anti-Sephardic discrimination and has no connection to those who serve in the IDF. Rabbi Ovadia would say the prayer for the soldiers, and some of his sons served in the IDF. But today everything is so polarized."

"The language is reminiscent of the Yerushalmi (Jerusalem) Faction," he said. "It is also necessary to mention the difficult situation of the public that sent its sons to study only in yeshiva frameworks without [any secular] education, without matriculation exams, and without a future. All of this must have distanced many people from Shas."








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