As Shas leaders wrangled with the intractable MK Chaim Amsellem, who created a party of his own, an old enemy has re-emerged to oppose the haredi party.
Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak, who is putting together his own Knesset ticket ahead of the Jan. 22 elections, fiercely slammed Shas on Wednesday. "I'm expected to create an identical party, so-to-speak, to Shas, but that is not my intention," he said. "I am not competing against them even though they are competing against me, and are deathly afraid of me."
In an interview with the ultra-Orthodox Kol Hai radio station, Yitzhak attacked Shas' most revered figure, and reiterated Amsellem's claim that the party's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, is being held captive by his family.
"Rabbi Ovadia's door is closed and only people suitable to Yehudit and Moshe can enter," said Yitzhak, referring to Ovadia's daughter-in-law and son – Yehudit and Moshe Yosef.
Who decides, Rabbi Ovadia or his son? (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The interviewer, Abraham Foerster, then sounded a recording of the spiritual leader's son, Rabbi David Yosef, who warned listeners against voting "for parties that promise bread for a Shekel or those who strayed from the path," clearly referring to Yitzhak and his party.
Yitzhak was clearly peeved by the sound bite: "It is unbelievably audacious to come to the synagogue I pray at and say these things in front of my congregation."
Yitzhak further claimed that he received threats from Shas.
"They sent someone to threaten me and say, 'if he behaves he will be permitted to enter (and see the Rabbi Ovadia) whenever he wants'... and if I won't behave, I will be harmed," he said.
Shas appears to be consciously ignoring Yitzhak's party so as not to draw attention to it. It stands to be noted that the religious party's attempt to disregard Amsellem in a similar manner failed when top Shas official Aryeh Deri fervently attacked him.
Akiva Novick is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent
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