Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and daughter Adina Bar-Sha
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and daughter Adina Bar-ShaFlash 90

If MK Eli Yishai plans to bolt Shas and take right-wing votes with him, Aryeh Deri will make up for those votes with more support from women. That seems to be the logic, political commentators said, behind Deri's (figurative) embracing of Rebbetzin Adina Bar-Shalom, founder and head of the Hareidi College for Women in Jerusalem, and daughter of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, z”tzl. In a press conference Sunday night, Deri and Bar-Shalom announced that she would head a special “women's advisory committee” that would work with Shas to develop policies to help women and families.

Speaking at the press conference, Deri said that he and Bar-Shalom had spoken extensively about the idea in recent weeks. “We discussed this idea, and a number of important matters that have been on the agenda of the party and the country. The main question we all have is – what would the Rabbi (Yosef) want us to do.”

Bar-Shalom said she was working with Shas because of her father's affinity for the party, and her desire to help shape the future of Israel. “It's no secret that a number of parties have tried to recruit me to run for Knesset with them. I considered these offers very carefully, and I appreciate the confidence the officials from these parties have shown in me. But I have decided to take the 'harder road,' remaining in the political home my father established 30 years ago.

“I had many conversations with Aryeh Deri, whom I see as continuing the ways of my father,” she added. “We decided to set up an advisory committee that I will lead. This, to me, is a much harder path than becoming a Knesset member,” she added.

The announcement comes just days after a poll showing that MK Eli Yishai would take a substantial number of Shas votes with him if he were to join with MK Uri Ariel in establishing a “Torah-oriented” Religious Zionist list. Polls by veteran Israeli pollsters Minna Tzemach and Rafi Smith show an alliance of the two garnering seven seats in the March 2015 election.