Yishai to guard Netanyahu
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Shas endorses Bibi for prime minister

Haredi party launches election campaign; Chairman Yishai says 'a strong Shas will ensure Netanyahu doesn’t repeat his mistakes'

Shas Chairman Eli Yishai declared Tuesday that his party was endorsing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu in the premiership race.


Speaking at the ultra-Orthodox party's election campaign launching event, the industry, trade and Labor minister said that "Shas will recommend Benjamin Netanyahu to the president as the next prime minister.


"A strong Shas will ensure Netanyahu doesn’t repeat his mistakes," he added.


"Netanyahu has learned the lessons from his previous tenure as prime minister, and Shas will make sure that he doesn’t cut the child allowances and the disadvantaged populations' budgets. We won't be forming the government this time. Perhaps next time, God willing," Yishai said.


He refused to refer to the possibility that Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni would be the one to form the next government, and even suggested what the next "Netanyahu government" will look like: "It will be a government with (Labor Chairman Ehud) Barak as prime minister. A broad government with social strength and with Shas as its mezuzah."


During the event, reporters were presented with Shas' election ads, under the banner, "Strengthening the home – strengthening the country."


The haredi party chose to focus on two main issues: Attacking Livni for her "willingness to divide Jerusalem" and presenting Shas as the State of Israel's social-economic savior.


One of the ads shows people from all parts of Israeli society repeating the slogan "Yes we can", which has been taken from US President Barack Obama's election campaign.


'We can’t be indifferent in Gaza'

Yishai took advantage of the stage given to him to respond to the incident which took place Tuesday morning at the Gaza border and left one soldier killed and three wounded.


"The State of Israel's deterrence ability was badly damaged as a result of the restraint, which at the end of the day point to weakness rather than to strength. We must not become indifferent. This is the same scenario was faced in the past."


He said the IDF must respond to the ceasefire violation. "We need an immediate, harsh response which will damage the targets which have yet to be hit, so that they won't dare fire at us.


"The Air Force must bomb forcibly in a harsh attack of several hours in order to make them think not twice, but 20 times, before attacking Israel and launching missiles."


Even before launching it campaign, Shas has been at the focus of the political agenda. Kadima Chairwoman Livni on Sunday slammed the haredi party, calling it "sectorial and extortionist".


Shas said in response that "the unrestrained attacks testify to a built-in, deep hatred to the Sephardic public. There is so much panic in Kadima that they refer to Shas' care for single-parent families and children as 'extortion'. Any derogatory nickname from Kadima is a gain for the people of Israel."


Shas Chairman Yishai sparked a row last week after referring to homosexuality as a "disease" during an interview to Ynet and calling on gay people to receive treatment. The remarks were slammed by politicians and members of the gay community.


פרסום ראשון: 01.27.09, 12:01
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