Shas halts coalition talks after spiritual leader falls into coma

Council of Torah Sages President Rabbi Shimon Baadani rushed to hospital after undergoing resuscitation; Shas Chairman Deri cuts coalition negotiations short and heads to hospital

Kobi Nachshoni|
Shas cut coalition talks abruptly on Monday after the Sephardic Haredi party's spiritual leader suffered a medical emergency.
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  • Rabbi Shimon Baadani, 94, serves as president of the Council of Torah Sages, Shas's supreme decision-making body.
    2 View gallery
    הרב שמעון בעדני מנהיג רוחני ש"ס
    הרב שמעון בעדני מנהיג רוחני ש"ס
    Shas spiritual leader Shimon Baadani
    (Photo: Gil Yochanan)
    He was rushed to Maayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak anesthetized and intubated after undergoing resuscitation.
    Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri left the coalition negotiations and made his way to the hospital.
    The break in talks with Shas comes just as the emerging coalition’s constituent parties managed to find common ground on the way to forming a government.
    Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu met twice on Monday with Religious Zionist party Chairman Bezalel Smotrich, and Deri also joined the second leg.
    2 View gallery
    אריה דרעי, בצלאל סמוטריץ', משה גפני
    אריה דרעי, בצלאל סמוטריץ', משה גפני
    Religious Zionist party leader Bezalel Smotrich and Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky, Kobi Koankes)
    According to reports, Netanyahu's Likud offered Deri the interior and transportation ministries, as well as being appointed deputy prime minister, if he relinquishes his demand to receive the finance portfolio. Deri has yet to respond to the offer.
    Coalition partners United Torah Judaism were outraged the transportation portfolio was offered to Deri. A source told Ynet that the party will now demand in the religious affairs portfolio, which would further complicate coalition efforts for Netanyahu and Deri.
    The Ashkenazi Haredi party demanded that the next government's ministerial positions would only be decided on at a joint meeting between the heads of the coalition.
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