Deri was filmed whispering to Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef: "There is a great war over the religions file, may God have mercy" (use under section 27A of the Copyright Law)
Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri is working to postpone by six months the elections for the position of chief rabbis scheduled for this summer, Walla has learned.
On Friday, Minister of Religious Affairs Michael Malkieli of the Shas faction issued a statement saying that the elections would be postponed due to concerns about the integrity of the elections and a petition submitted to the High Court of Justice, but in practice Deri acted to postpone their dates due to the inability to decide between two candidates for the position of Sephardic chief rabbi.
The position is contested by his brother, Rabbi Yehuda Deri, Rabbi of Be'er Sheva, and his friend Rabbi David Yosef, son of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and brother of the current Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef. The postponement was intended to achieve a situation in which Deri could run Rabbi Yosef for the position of Sephardic rabbi of Jerusalem – and then allow his brother to run for the position of Chief Rabbi of Israel.
Rabbi Yosef will turn his candidacy - and pave the way for Deri's brother Victory (Photo: Reuven Castro)
Meanwhile, Deri has enlisted the support of Religious Zionism, but the move is opposed by the Flag of the Torah faction, MK Moshe Gafni. Last week, Deri met with Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and, together with a group of associates, formulated an agreement to postpone the election date. Gafni was furious that he was not involved in the agreements and is expected to inform Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he opposes them. However, it is possible that Gafni will eventually compromise and agree to the rejection.
Meanwhile, a rabbinical committee appointed to select the Religious Zionism candidate for Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi will convene today in Ramot Shapira, near Jerusalem. This is a committee of 40 rabbis that is supposed to decide on the identity of the rabbi that Minister Smotrich will support. Two leading candidates have been mentioned so far - Rabbi Micha Halevi, Rabbi of Petach Tikva, and Dayan of the Great Court, Rabbi Eliezer Igra. However, there are other candidates affiliated with Religious Zionism who do not consider themselves committed to the selection of the committee – and will run anyway.
In recent days, Shas officials have been demanding legislation that would allow Deri to return to his position as a government minister, despite a High Court decision disqualifying him because of his criminal record. Knesset Health Committee Chairman MK Uriel Bosso said in an interview to Kol Barama radio that "Deri must return to the cabinet table, and as far as we are concerned, as soon as possible."
- Aryeh Deri
- Moshe Gafni
- Bezalel Smotrich