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Nov 21, 2010

The busha going on in Shas

Shas is an interesting phenomenon. Shas is an entity that you gain nothing from fighting with. Their representatives are solid in following the one person who decides what should be done, there is generally no rebellion from within the ranks, the supporters and voters are dedicated completely to Shas and will not be pulled away by other parties or other parties that are formed, no matter how charming and charismatic the leader is - they follow "Maran" and that is the way it is. They can talk about this or that being wrong or not the way it should be, but when it comes down to it, the supporters of Shas will not leave on another agenda - they will stick with Maran, Harv Ovadia Yosef.

What is going on now in Shas, with the fighting between Shas leadership and Rav Amsalem, is basically a busha and a waste of time.

It is a waste of time because nothing is going to come of it. At the end of the day, no matter who is right and who is wrong, Rav Amsalem will eventually be pushed out of the ranks of Shas, as he should be. Shas is a party that follows the decisions of one person - Rav Ovadia. If you are not willing to follow him and stay silent when you have a different opinion, Shas is not your place. Fighting the way it works is akin to hitting your head against a brick wall. Shas is Shas and no specific MK or personality is going to change that. Perhaps sometime in the future, when Rav Ovadia is no longer the leader (he should live and be strong until 120), perhaps Shas will change, perhaps not. For now, nobody, not Rav Amsalem or anyone else, is going to change Shas.

Therefore, the best thing to do now would be to avoid the busha that has been going on for the past week or two. This fighting between El Yishai and Rav Amsalem, between Rav Ovadia and Rav Amsalem, about who is right and who is wrong, along with over who has the support of Rav Mazuz, along with all the other bickering, should just stop. Nothing is going to come of it, and it just looks bad for everybody.

Anyway, this fight that started because of Rav Amsalem is not really a fight Shas should be involved in. They were dragged into the debate over the stipends for kollel men because they are a haredi party. However, most Shas supporters are people who have gone to the army, work and support themselves and have nothign to do with this issue. Sure, there are a lot of young men in kollel, but they are small numbers relative to Shas overall, and even they generally dont stay in kollel long term the way the ashkenazim do.

Basically, they have been dragged into this fight by UTJ, and it is not even really their fight. They would be better off by just talking about the importance of Torah learning and leaving it at that.

Stop the busha.


  1. What nonsense. Shas is responsible for depriving the children in its school system of an education, and of promoting the outrageous attitude that it is acceptable to demand others to support one's holy lifestyle. It's not just about payments to avreichim - it's about the whole rotten system which is going to destroy the state of Israel that Shas colludes in. Shas members (including R. Ovadiah Yosef) have a brain and a moral sense just like any other member of humanity. They can read Dan Ben David's prognosis just like everyone else ( http://taubcenter.org.il/tauborgilwp/wp-content/uploads/TaubCenter-StateoftheNationReport2009Eng.pdf.pdf). If they don't join when Rav Amsalem cries 'mi lahashem elai', then they are at fault. Rav Amsalem (and all the rest of us) must do all we can to save Shas supporters from the economic horrors being inflicted on them and their children, and in turn, the rest of society.
    Perhaps Shas supporters WILL realise that following the current paradigm to the bitter end is leading all of us to disaster. Why do you imagine they are not intelligent or moral enough to realise this and to care?
    Waiting for Rav Ovadiah to pass away is too late for the children who go to sleep hungry because their father has no qualifications and can't get a job, too late for the dyslexic guy stuck in yeshiva and too late for the guy who is not suited for learning, and stayed in kollel due to the dominant paradigm till 40, with only a coffee habit (and a pile of debt) to show for it.

    Change must come now, before it is too late for all of us.

  2. I disagree. no matter how right Rav Amsalem is, he will never be able to steal more than a handful of votes away from Shas. Their supporters are too one-minded and will not abandon them.
    If he starts a new party targeting Shas voters, he will not pass the threshold. He can start a party and target others, but it is futile to tango with Shas on this.

  3. Social realities are never fixed. 40 years ago most of these people wouldn't have thought that it is OK for their children to cast themselves on the state, and there is no reason why they can't go back to thinking that way. As a matter of fact, in 50 years time, I'll bet they will think that way. The current system is an aberration which will be cured by the laws of economics. It is R. Ovadiah's (and the rest of the Shas leadership's) choice as to whether they choose to stand in the way of that process. Doing so will only make the inevitable more painful than it needs to be.

  4. Shas became a party of numbers after PM Menechem Begin's Likud party started to waver in their religious, right-wing attitudes. Shas' voters are diverse and include a majority of Sefardic, traditional, right wing voters who work, fulfilled army duty and respect Yiddishkeit and its mesorah.
    More votes will be lost if Chacham and Yishei come out supporting the construction freeze. Shas is not a mirror item of UTJ and certainly its voters are not. Chacham and Deri are pacifists at heart and those who were R. Mordechai Eliyahu students and supporters (which is a large growing pillar) are looking for a party that represents who they are.

  5. Rafi good post.
    Shas did not have much choice.They still crave for the legitimacy of the Ashkenazi charedim.
    Maybe it's practical: the Shas leaders children go to Ashkenazi yeshivos. They would not want their kids to be barred from them.

  6. It's a little sad that someone raised in America (even if only in the land of the "vote early, vote often" political machine) feels that a parlimentarian raising important issues is a waste of time.

  7. yoni - it is important. my issue is not with Amsalem, but with Shas fighting Amsalem.

    He has no future in Shas, and when looking to joun a party or start a new one, he has to target the right sector of voters.

    The point is though that in the internal fight within shas, he has no chance of winning. He should find a venue to push his agenda where he will have a chance of making change, whether it is a different party or a new party or outside of the Knesset.


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