Eli Yishai, Rabbi Meir Mazuz
Eli Yishai, Rabbi Meir Mazuz Yaakov Naumi/Flash 90

Rabbi Meir Mazuz, the rabbinical guide for former Shas chairperson Eli Yishai's recently founded Ha'am Itanu party, denied on Sunday night that recordings damaging to Shas head Aryeh Deri which surfaced during the day were released by Yishai.

In the recording, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef z"tl is seen in private meetings condemning Deri for his corruption that had him jailed in 1999, and even referring to him as "evil." 

Yishai has responded to Deri's public abuse of him - which even has seen an extremist Shas member arrested for death threats against Yishai - by saying he possessed recordings of Rabbi Yosef which clearly showed his support for him over Deri, and implied he would be releasing them at some point if pressed to do so.

However, Rabbi Mazuz clarified "what happened this evening (the release of the recordings) was not according to our opinion or the opinion of Eli. We didn't have any connection to it. Someone did it on their own opinion, I don't know who. Afterwards things will become clear."

Explaining the formation of Yishai's new party, the rabbi said "many people apparently were ready to vote for secular parties, and there was no choice but to return them. Because they said, we aren't ready for this. We made them a special party, a party close to their hearts so that they'll be able to vote. You can't not vote."

Regarding Shas, Rabbi Mazuz said "we have no argument. None," adding that both parties can increase their votes.

"There's a chance G-d willing to reach together with Aryeh 18 mandates. You won't believe it, but if G-d wants even a broom will shot, even a broom can be a rifle," said the rabbi.

Up till now recent polls have been placing Ha'am Itanu and Shas both at around the four or five mandate mark.