State Assigns Security Detail for Eli Yishai

Fears high for Yishai's personal safety after Shas supporters storm Yachad party announcement Monday.

Tova Dvorin , | updated: 10:10 AM

Eli Yishai
Eli Yishai
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Yachad Chairman and former Shas party leader MK Eli Yishai has been assigned a security detail, Knesset Police Commander Yosef Griff stated Tuesday, after clashes erupted Monday night and after multiple threats have reportedly been made against his personal safety. 

Dozens of hareidi Shas supporters stormed Yishai's press conference announcing Yachad, with one taking the stage just before he was about to speak, grabbing the framed photograph of Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef tz"l, and screaming, "Maran [Yosef] is with us, with Shas!" to cheering. 

Shas supporter screams while holding photo of R' Yosef Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Security at the scene were forced to secure Yishai as the men were ousted from the hall, at Jerusalem's Ramada hotel. However, clashes broke out soon afterwards, and several scuffles were reported between Yachad and Shas supporters. 

Scuffle between Shas and Yachad supporters, Ramada, December 15 2014 Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

For days, reports have circulated of Yishai's plans to abandon Shas after 30 years and form his own party, perhaps in a deal with Jewish Home's Tekuma head Uri Ariel. 

last-ditch attempt by current Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri and other Shas rabbis Monday morning to prevent the split failed, and Yishai stated his definite intentions to leave and head a new party. 

Yishai, who has received death threats for his intent to leave the party, has pledged to run the party "with clean hands, honesty, and trust" after years of conflict and intraparty politics within Shas. 

Both Yishai and Deri were appointed as co-chairs of the Shas party, along with MK Ariel Atias, before the last elections, but the Council of Torah Sages, then headed by the late Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, later ruled that Deri will be Shas chairman, further fueling the conflict between the two.

The long-standing rivalry between the two resurfaced after Rabbi Yosef’s death, when Yishai was reportedly advised against attending the rabbi’s memorial service, due to political pressures from Deri.

Despite this, insiders noted to Yediot Aharonot in October that a recent Knesset channel survey found the majority of the public, and the majority of Shas voters, would prefer to see MK Eli Yishai take Deri's place.

The preference may be due, at least in part, to the fact that Deri was out of politics for several long years after being jailed for corruption.

Rabbi Ovadiah's own daughter, Rebbetzin Adina Bar Shalom, has also stated her personal disdain for Deri, saying in recordings obtained by IDF Radio that she disapproves of Deri's insistence on "quarreling with everyone" and that "he is not behaving in the way my father expected him to."