Adina Bar-Shalom
Adina Bar-ShalomFlash 90

Adina Bar-Shalom, the daughter of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, announced at a Tel Aviv event on Sunday night her intention to create and lead a new political party.

Rabbi Yosef, who passed away in October 2013, served as Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1973 to 1983, and later co-founded the Shas party, and served as the party's spiritual leader until his death.

In an interview with Israel Hayom, Bar-Shalom explained her stance on various topics of national interest, as well as on the current Shas party leader, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who closed the haredi college Bar-Shalom founded.

"Politics give us abilities that we don't have anywhere else," she said of her new party. "There is a group that's been built, made of secular, haredi, and religious people who work together. For two years already. We have time, we're working on running in the upcoming elections. I will be one of the party's founders, not an actual MK."

"I trusted Aryeh Deri," she said with disappointment, referring to the fact that he closed the haredi college she founded. "I thought he was true to my father's legacy. But he didn't work to keep the college open. As an elected politician and as the Interior Minister, he could have done so, and he could have helped, if he had wanted to. I went with him, and that was my first mistake, and now my second."

"Deri has changed a lot since he entered prison. Before that, he knew how to mediate, how to bridge between worlds. He was a truly special person. I knew him from then. It's a shame that he went to jail and became completely corrupt."

Deri was jailed for corruption in 1999 for around two years, and left politics for a number of years. He returned to politics in 2011, quickly regained power of the Shas party, and was appointed a minister after elections in March 2015.

Since then, he has been interrogated several times on suspicion of tax evasion, money laundering, and similar crimes.

A 72-year-old mother of three, Bar-Shalom won the 2014 Israel Prize for her work as a haredi educator, including the founding of the first haredi women’s college in 2001.

Bar-Shalom drew criticism in 2011 when she endorsed a plan calling on Israel to surrender the Golan Heights and enable the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. In May of that year, Bar-Shalom again raised eyebrows when she joined a delegation of Israeli activists in a meeting with senior Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah.