The Shas party is probably not as unified over voting in a specific presidential candidate for president as some might believe. It’s probably not unified at all.
On Monday night, Shas MK Eli Yishai and Likud president-hopeful MK Ruby Rivlin were seen sitting side-by-side at a wedding for the grandson of former Chief Rabbi, Rav Shlomo Amar.
In fact, except for Shas leader Aryeh Deri and Ariel Attias, all the Shas MKs showed up, despite the tremendous pressure placed on them not to go to the wedding.
The battle behind the scenes is over who is spiritual heir to former Shas founder Rav Ovadia Yosef and of Sephardim in general. Most Sephardim appear to be leaning towards Rav Shlomo Amar, who is considered a halachic genius and successful chief rabbi. Aryeh Deri sees Rav Amar as a political threat to his Sephardic hegemony.
At one point Rav Amar blessed Eli Yishai, who Deri had deposed as party head, saying, “May all your enemies fall before you, and may you be raised up, and succeed in all your undertakings.”
In practical terms, Shas, under Aryeh Deri, is more likely to be ordered to cast a vote for Dalia Itzik than for Ruby Rivlin. But as the vote for president is done by secret ballot, we’re more likely to see Yishai’s faction within Shas voting for Ruby Rivlin.
Among other guests who made an appearance were the two current chief rabbis, one of whom is related through marriage to Rav Amar, former chief rabbis, judges, both Ashkenaz and Sephardi yeshiva heads, as well as Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat who sported a fashionable knitted Kipa.
If weddings parties were coronations, then Rav Amar would be king.
And despite all the attention his grandfather was getting, the Chatan (groom) clearly enjoyed the wedding too.