Deri, Yishai and Atias of Shas
Deri, Yishai and Atias of ShasFlash90

Leading figures in the religious-Zionist community leveled serious charges Sunday against leading members of the Shas party. Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) MK Uri Orbach and Rabbi Chaim Druckman accused Shas higher-ups of deliberately misleading the party’s aging leader, renowned Torah scholar Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef attacked the Jewish Home party in his weekly Torah lecture on Saturday night, saying the party comes to “uproot the Torah.”

“Rabbi Ovadia Yosef doesn’t open a newspaper and read,” MK Orbach said. “He listens to the three bandits, the three who lead Shas” – a reference to Ministers Eli Yishai and Ariel Atias, and candidate Aryeh Deri.

“Shas is under pressure because we’re taking votes from them,” he added.

“Likud is accusing us of being too religious, and Shas is accusing us of being too secular,” Orbach said. “I say – in our parents’ name and our own – we do not need a stamp of approval for our religiosity or our love of Torah.”

Rabbi Druckman, head of the Bnei Akiva yeshiva system, spoke out as Orbach did, not to criticize Rabbi Ovadia Yosef but to express concern.

“It’s very worrying that people in Shas have done serious harm to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef – one of the great scholars of our generation,” he said, “that they misled him and incited him against the Jewish Home using falsehoods.”

Rabbi Druckman added, “I personally know the candidates for the Jewish Home party, and they love Torah and mitzvoth [commandments] and there are Torah scholars among them, and they will certainly act according to halacha [Jewish law].”