Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Follow up on Shas
If you thought I was writing off Shas, religious Sephardi party yesterday, forget it. Shas is very durable. And they haven’t started giving out good luck charms yet (Don’t even ask). So far only one Arye Deri supporter has dared leave Shas and move to Rabbi Kadouri's party.

Presenter Dalia Yairi, political expert Hanan Crystal and a religious political expert whose name I didn't catch, discussed this on Reshet Bet radio station this morning and speculated if it would all end in a summit meeting between the Rabbis, the new party evaporating. At the end of the day, with all Arye Deri's political power and popularity, Rabbi Ovadia is boss. It would be interesting to see how much votes the charismatic Arye Deri is really worth, though. And the Kadouri family, for that matter.

Dalia Yairi floated an interesting hypothesis - that the whole business is nothing more than a publicity stunt to revive interest in Shas, in view of the poor results the party is getting in the polls. Crystal and the other guy didn't back her up, but even if it's not intentional, this new party is focusing a lot of attention on Shas, isn't it?

Shahar Ilan, Haaretz expert for religious matters, pointed out later, also on Reshet Bet, that the Kadouri family has no political power and that they're probably in it for the payoff they'll get from Rabbi Ovadia in return for getting out of the race.

A word of explanation, in case you've been finding all this bewildering: Shas is not a very modern or democratic party (understatement time). I have never considered voting for this party (duh!), but someone, who will remain nameless, says he regularly tells pollsters he intends to vote for Shas, just to throw them off the track. He seems to regard this as some sort of patriotic duty.