David Yosef is seen as Deri's successor
By Shahar Ilan, Amira Segev, Yossi Verter and Mazal Mualem,
Rabbi David Yosef, the son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi
Ovadia Yosef, wants to become not only the deputy chairman of the Shas
Party, but also the new minister of religious affairs. Contrary to claims by
associates of David Yosef and outgoing party chair Aryeh Deri, Yosef is
apparently no longer deliberating whether to become Shas's political leader:
He wants to. It is not clear, however, whether his father supports the move.
Last week it appeared that outgoing Labor and Social Affairs
Minister Eli Yishai would be the heir to the Shas throne. However, in recent
days it has become clear that while Yishai was favored by the elder Yosef,
Shas activists on the street remained loyal to Deri, not accepting Yishai's
ascendance. Dozens of activists informed Rabbi Yosef they were retiring from
Shas until Deri returned.
There are several versions of how David Yosef was offered the
position of heir. Yosef himself says the offer came from his father. "On
Saturday night, Rabbi Ovadia and David thought about it at length," a source
close to both rabbis said. "On Saturday the rabbi told David that it would
be best if he would be the heir."
Until now, David Yosef has refused to enter politics, claiming that
he aspired to a rabbinical career and did not want to be stained by
politics. According to the source, Rabbi Ovadia explained to his son that he
has already been stained because of his controversial speeches at Shas
rallies and his involvement in the management of the party.
Other sources say that the offer came from other members of the
Yosef family, but not from the rabbi himself. A source close to the younger
Yosef explained that David's advantage was that the street would accept his
authority and Deri wouldn't be threatened by him. "This will prevent
unnecessary struggles," the source said.
Several sources in Shas claimed that David Yosef's appointment has
already been settled. But a senior party member who opposes Deri said, "the
appointment will not go through because David Yosef is not a serious person,
he speaks without thinking. This is an egg that has been laid, but might not
A rift in the Yosef household
By Avirama Golan
Rabbi David Yosef arrived from London late Wednesday night
unable to hide his anger. "What do I care about Shas," he grumbled. "All I
ever had was Aryeh Deri. Now that Aryeh is gone, nothing interests me." But
because of his respect for his father, who openly supports MK Eli Yishai, he
said no more. As of Thursday, however, David Yosef's associates were
spreading the word that "the streets were on fire," and that given the
chance they would oust Yishai.
This is more than just David Yosef's famous short fuse. It is also
not the inheritance battle between Deri and Yishai. The rift is many times
worse and is taking place in the Rabbi's very home. David Yosef's battle is
directed, supposedly, against Yishai. In practice, however, in the name of
Deri's lost honor, he is running a campaign against his own father and
master, the movement's spiritual leader.
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