'Ever since Deri returned, Shas has been dropping like a rock'

Former Shas MK says current chairman leading party off cliff, new leader who respects rabbis must be appointed.

Benny Tocker ,

Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri
Yaacov Cohen/Flash 90

Former Shas MK Nissim Zeev addressed the publication of the recording in which Shas chairman and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri attacked Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar.

"We must protest the violation of the honor of the Torah [in the attacks on] Rabbi Shlomo Amar, who is one of the great Jewish leaders. The time has come for a certain someone to ask him for forgiveness in public, as someone who has persecuted another for years and made sure that events in which he participates are canceled," Zeev said in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

According to him, the late Shas spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, forgave Rabbi Amar "after he asked for forgiveness, and this dispute cannot continue."

Zeev claims that his relationship with Rabbi Amar made him persona non grata in Shas. "I would offer a holiday greeting, and that would make me a traitor, even though I have known Rabbi Amar for over 40 years. It is time for soul-searching: how one can place a person at the head of a movement that represents Torah and values when he is completely a man of war, sowing discord, creating riots and renewing intrigues and quarrels."

He claimed that only Deri's departure can save the Shas party from a collapse at the ballot box. We must save this movement, which is sinking like a rock. Since Deri took control of it, it has plummeted in the polls."

"We cannot let the movement continue on its present course. We have to persuade the chairman to leave us alone. He is still holding on to the horns of the altar, but he knows what is going to happen soon. He has no chance of continuing to lead the movement when he carries this can of worms behind him. He is involved in a very serious investigation against him, and things are very suspicious.

Zeev believes that it would be possible to restore unity and public trust in Shas if Deri were to leave the party. "The public finds it difficult to identify with a movement headed by a person whose image and personality are in doubt. They do not believe his statements when he talks about transparency and the cries of the poor when he behaves as one of the rich and when his tears are crocodile tears. This is not a trustworthy individual."

According to him, the tape that was published this week "only revealed the truth that there is no Torah or Derech Eretz (respect)" in Shas.

"Shas arose out of unity under the leadership of our teacher, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, when all the great Torah scholars were united around it. Unfortunately, since Aryeh became chairman, he has succeeded in deepening the rift, and I believe that a new leader will join this movement that will unite all the rabbis - Rabbi Amar, Rabbi Mazuz and all the Council of Torah Sages must unite."

"Sephardic Jewry has always been united and should remain so. This situation can be resolved if the chairman reaches the conclusion that he is not worthy of leading this movement. He can not see that it is collapsing and waiting for its burial. We cannot allow him [to continue to lead the party]. He is not the right man. And the sooner this is done, the better".