Adina Bar Shalom
Adina Bar ShalomFlash 90

Rabbanit Adina Bar Shalom, daughter of Shas founder and mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ztz”l, told IDF Radio Monday that women will be able to compete for a place in Shas's Knesset list in the elections that follow the current ones in March.

Bar Shalom came out in full support of Shas Chairman MK Aryeh Deri Sunday, and said he was the person to continue in her father's footsteps. The two announced the formation of a women's forum inside Shas.

Outspoken feminist journalist Tali Lipkin-Shahak of IDF Radio asked her why she is not running for Knesset herself, as many had hoped. Lipkin-Shahak told her that many secular women had pinned their hopes on her, and that by agreeing to form a women's forum instead of insisting on female MKs in Shas, she had “put out a column of light.” She accused her of “sitting like a submissive woman sitting next to man who runs the show” - next to Aryeh Deri.

Bar Shalom laughed and explained that changes are sometimes effected slowly and gradually. "If I am the light for the hareidi society, which it is important for me to advance and which I want to bring to the right places, then this light has received a different meaning. It received the meaning that sometimes one must take a step backward in order to take two steps forward.” She explained that it was not necessarily she herself who needs to be an MK, and that her role is to pave the way for others.

When pressed by Lipkin-Shahak, she said that her father would not have wanted her to run for Knesset. She said that she came to this conclusion when she saw the harsh reactions to the idea of women running for Knesset in the last two months. She understood, then, that a gradual change needs to first be effected from within the hareidi society.

“I can be a Knesset Member for the nation of Israel, but I will not be a Knesset Member in the eyes of my public,” she explained.

She then added that she believes that the day in which women will run for Knesset in Shas is not far. When pressed by Lipkin-Shahak, she said that Deri promised her that he would embark on a process that would make it possible for women to represent Shas in the Knesset, come the next elections.

When asked by Lipkin-Shahak about a pin depicting a peace dove that she wore during her news conference with Deri, she said that she wore it because of her belief in making concessions for peace with the Arabs.

Bar Shalom is a member of the Public Council of the Geneva Peace Initiative. She has expressed support for withdrawal to pre-1967 borders, including withdrawal from the Golan Heights and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. She has also been photographed with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The leftist camp has hopes that Aryeh Deri will join a leftist coalition and support concessions, as Shas did in the 1992 Rabin government that approved the Oslo Accords. She added that her father also believed that "everything" must be done in order to achieve peace, and opined that Deri feels the same way.