Yishai May 'Play Hand' Against Deri Over Attack

Sources close to Yishai say Deri breached agreement in 'settlement' tirade, say they aren't concerned over polls or Tekuma decision.

Chaim Lev, Ari Yashar ,

Eli Yishai
Eli Yishai
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Some polls have shown former Shas chairperson Eli Yishai's new Ha'am Itanu party not passing the Knesset threshold in coming elections, and talk of a joint list with Uri Ariel's Tekuma was ruled out Saturday night as the party voted to stay with Jewish Home - however, Yishai is not concerned.

"The Tekuma decision helped redefine the party," said sources close to Yishai. "Up till now (Shas chairperson) Aryeh Deri claimed we're a Zionist party, that we aren't hareidim, that we don't listen to the opinion of the Torah."

"So that card has been played: we are a hareidi party, with hareidi rabbis, which approaches the hareidi and hareidi Zionist public that is interested in getting a party that defends the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel," they added.

While some polls don't show Yishai's party entering the Knesset, others have shown it splitting Shas's electorate power in half with each gaining four seats.

"We'll run alone and we'll get a lot more than the threshold percentage; we have our uniqueness," said the sources.

The sources also responded to a tirade against Yishai made by Deri on Channel 2 Saturday night, in which he accused Yishai of abandoning the party's values by supporting the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria at the expense of other efforts.

In doing so, Deri gave lip service to a classic leftist trope, despite the fact that communities in the region receive the same allocations as those anywhere else in the country.

"There was an agreement not to attack each other but he chose to act differently," Yishai's sources said. "We will weigh whether to release what is in our hands now against him. It's unfortunate, we don't want to be dragged into these things but it appears that he isn't leaving us other options."

The comment refers to apparently incriminating recordings and evidence in Yishai's possession against Deri; Deri was out of politics for several long years after being jailed for corruption.