Rabbi Meir Mazuz, spiritual leader of outgoing MK Eli Yishai's Yachad - Ha'am Itanu party, sharply criticized Shas and its chairman Aryeh Deri on Friday, blaming both for Yachad's failure to make the Knesset threshold.
Rabbi Mazuz implied that Shas had caused Yachad's loss by illegally tampering with elections.
"All things are allowed in politics," Rabbi Mazuz stated to Walla! News. "You're allowed to lie, cheat, steal, falsify, skew - you're allowed to cut the line in all things, anything goes. And then despite all that, we received more than 110,000 votes." The final count reached over 125,000.
Rabbi Mazuz did not mention Shas by name, but implied that "hundreds of rabbis" were deceived, bought off, and threatened by Shas leaders into ignoring Yachad throughout the elections process.
He added that Shas, in his words, attempted to approach religious institutions and force their allegiance to the party and to impart pro-Shas messages on their constituents.
"There are those who duped them and told them, 'We're doing this for the Talmud Torahs [religious schools - ed.] and for mikvaot (ritual baths - ed.), and if Yishai's party is established - they'll close ritual baths, close Talmud Torahs," he said. "Who is stupid enough to believe this nonsense?"
He further stated that, following the death of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, Shas turned into a "metastasis of ג [the symbol for United Torah Judaism - ed.]" and lost its own vision.
"Today they have nothing to offer," he added.
Rabbi Mazuz further blasted Shas chairman Aryeh Deri, who was jailed in 1999 for corruption, for pledging to support Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog.
"We didn't just separate from Shas," he said. "When they said, 'We will go with the Left,' - that became too much."
Then, when Deri made a 180-degree turn and pledged to support Netanyahu before the current elections, Rabbi Mazuz noted that the turnaround showed Shas's true colors: as opportunists. These lies, he said, were unforgivable.
"[Deri] commits fraud, pulls the wool over the eyes of Rabbis and everyone else," he said. "He does whatever he wants while riding on our backs."
"One day, all these lies will fall like a house of cards," he continued. One day, he added, Israel will talk about Shas in the past tense."There will not be anything left."
Yachad is currently petitioning the results, with many voting slips reportedly having been tampered with by Shas activists. Two Shas activists were actually arrested on elections day for trying to steal Yachad slips, and the party reports activists physically forced Yachad inspectors out of some polling stations.
Likewise, Yachad charged that Shas established an anonymous "straw party list" with similar letters representing it as Yachad so as to defraud voters.