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Shas

Party name: Shas

Bloc: Haredi

שס

Leader Aryeh Deri Method of leadership selection Appointment by Council of Torah Sages
Current MKs 7 Method of List selection Appointment by Council of Torah Sages

Brief party history:

Shas (Shomrei Torah Sefaradim / Torah observant Sephardim) is a Haredi party with an electorate principally consisting of Sephardi and Mizrahi voters, which historically attracts support from both traditional Jews and the Haredi world. The party was founded by Rav Ovadia Yosef, who chaired the party’s governing body until his death. Their current leader, Aryeh Deri, was convicted for corruption in 2000 and served two years in jail. He returned to politics in 2011, eventually resuming his place as leader, taking the place of Eli Yishai who later broke away and formed his own party. At its peak, the party held 17 Knesset seats (1999), but has since declined, and support declined still further after Yosef’s death in 2013.

What do they stand for?

The party’s mission statement is to ‘return the crown to its former glory’. The party resonates with a large segment of the Sephardic world, working to rectify what it sees as continued economic and social discrimination against Jews who came from North Africa and the Middle East. They are socially conservative and economically center-left by Israeli standards. They have sat in both right and left wing coalitions.

Activity in the current Knesset

Aryeh Deri is the Minister of Interior.

One of the main policies Shas has lobbied against in recent years is the Draft Law, which seeks to reform draft deferral for Haredi yeshiva students.