Eli Yishai doesn't rule out running with Shas

Despite ugly in-fighting, former Shas head Eli Yishai says he would run with party in order to help Shas cross electoral threshold.

Tzvi Lev,

Eli Yishai
Eli Yishai
Hadas Parush/Flashh 90

Former Shas head Eli Yishai said that he would return to Shas if his return would ensure that the flailing party would cross the electoral threshold. Shas has been hovering around the electoral threshold in almost every recent poll.

Appearing with haredi journalist Menachem Toker on his internet show, Yishai said that he would be willing for his breakaway Yachad faction to run to together with Shas and even serve as number two on the list behind his longtime nemesis, current Shas head Aryeh Deri.

"Shas is important to me," Yishai told Toker. "Unfortunately, Shas would not cross the electoral threshold with current leader Aryeh Deri. For many reasons, I don't want to hurt Shas."

Yishai said that he would only run alongside Shas if he was instructed to by his spiritual authority, Rabbi Meir Mazuz."If the rabbis decide it, I will run. If Rabbi Meir Mazuz decides that we are going to save the Shas movement with two parties of Yachad and Shas running on one list - in this case we would."

"This would save both the peace between us and the Shas movement."

Yishai split off from Shas after he was deposed by current head Aryeh Deri. In 2015, Yachad ran on a joint list with the Otzma Yehudit party, led by former Kach party activists, including one-time National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari and Baruch Marzel, as well as attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir.

While most polls showed Yahad crossing the 3.25% minimum electoral threshold required to enter the Knesset, the party came up short, receiving 125,158 votes, or about 2.97% of all valid ballots and about 13,000 short of the threshold.

Despite the failure, Eli Yishai announced in November that he will run again in the next Knesset elections, and announced a party membership drive, promising that "Yahad will be a part of the government."

Recent polls have shown that Shas is in dire straits, with a Channel 10 poll in November showing that Shas would not pass the electoral threshold if elections were held today.

Shas' decline from the 17 seats it won in 1999 has been attributed to several factors, including the death of party founder and Sephardic icon Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef and the ongoing police investigations into party leader Aryeh Deri and his wife for alleged money laundering, fraud, breach of trust, theft, fraudulent registration, numerous tax offenses, and corruption.

Reports have been swirling that Shas' leadership has been holding secret talks with deposed leader Eli Yishai regarding his potential return to the party, should current leader Aryeh Deri be indicted.


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