spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
came out against the Habayit Hayehudi
party on Saturday claiming it was a party of "goys"
that seeks to "abolish the Torah"
During his weekly class, the rabbi questioned the piety of Habayit Hayehudi's members. "They want to introduce civil marriage,
to have public transportation
on Shabbat. They call themselves religious? They must not be referred to as religious. Do not vote for them."
A Shas senior official later said that the rabbi is very concerned with the Jewish public in Israel
and noted that the words "speak for themselves. This is a wake-up call for the undecided.
We are confident everyone will return to their home."
Habayit Hayehudi said in response, "Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is an important spiritual leader for many sectors in Israel and we respect and admire him. Our goal is to act as a bridge between the sectors of Israeli society and we shall continue to do so. If we come under fire from all parties then we must be doing something right."
Earlier on Saturday, Shas' three leaders visited Rabbi Yosef at his home and informed him of Habayit Hayehudi's surge in the polls expressing concern that it was taking votes away from Shas.
Earlier this week, Habayit Hayehudi's Ayelet Shaked
said the party is seeking control of conversions and will promote speedier procedures. "There is a speedier way to perform conversions even in accordance with the halacha."
The issue of conversion is a major part of Shas' campaign and was featured in one of its elections ads
which was later removed.
Moran Azulay, a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent, contributed to this report