Yishai on Videos: That's Not My Way

Ha'am Itanu chairman makes clear that he had nothing to do with the leaked tapes showing Rabbi Ovadia Yosef speaking out against Aryeh Deri.

Ido Ben Porat and Haim Lev ,

MK Eli Yishai
MK Eli Yishai
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

MK Eli Yishai, formerly the chairman of Shas and now the head of the Ha’am Itanu party, clarified on Tuesday that he was not behind the leaking of recordings showing former Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef calling current Shas chairman Aryeh Deri a "wicked" thief and a bribe-taker.

Speaking at a gathering of activists in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Yishai said, "Over the past 24 hours I have chosen to remain silent and to act responsibly and with Derech Eretz despite the difficult times, but to be clear - this is not my way.”

“I chose to keep quiet because I think this is the right way, but only until the moment when the tables are turned. When I was turned into an enemy. From a supporter of Maran to a traitor. There are many things in my heart and there are moments when one must tell the truth even if it hurts a little,” he continued.

Yishai said that he founded Ha’am Itanu in order to prevent “a third Oslo”, alluding to the fact that the video of Rabbi Yosef showed him contradicting Deri's claim that he had nothing to do with the party's controversial decision to support the Oslo Accords.

"In all my years as a public representative and particularly during the past few difficult years, I went through difficult moments. Any person in my place would have cried out for what he wanted if only to protect those close to him, but I chose to remain silent. To act responsibly and with respect. That is my way. Because that’s how I believe one should behave,” he added.

"This is what Maran of blessed memory taught me,” stated Yishai. “That you should grit your teeth while seeing the good of the people before your eyes. The goal is clear, to do everything I can for the public, with great love for the people of Israel.”

The comments come hours after Deri submitted a letter of resignation to Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein in light of the controversy surrounding the leaked video.

Moments after Deri’s resignation, the remaining Shas MKs announced that they too would resign from the Knesset unless Deri changes his mind and takes back his resignation.