Thursday, May 11, 2006

Baba Baruch vs Chacham Ovadia?

Haaretz: Shas is standing firmly behind party chair Eli Yishai in the face of denunciations by Rabbi Baruch Abuhatzeira, who recently called Yishai "a fraud and liar unfit and unsuitable to lead the movement." Shas expects a reconciliation meeting to take place, but the storm generated by the Netivot rabbi's remarks has revealed internal strife within the party. The comments, leaked to Israel Radio, appeared in a letter from Abuhatzeira - known as the Baba Baruch - to Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, in which he protested the failure to appoint MK Yakov Margi as a cabinet minister. Abuhatzeira claimed that this violated a promise Yishai had made to him. A Shas spokesman said the cabinet appointments were decided by the Council of Torah Sages and quoted Yosef as saying: "Injury to Yishai is injury to the Sages....... The letter revealed the dual tensions arising recently in Shas: ethnic - Moroccans versus Yemenites - and class-based, the "field operatives" versus the "appointees," representatives of various rabbinic courts and tycoons. Margi's defeat is considered a defeat for the field, and many activists are embittered by it. Margi himself told Haaretz: "I am not in the game. I thank the Baba Baruch, but I ran on my own merits and accept Rabbi Ovadia's decision with love. I support the party leader. I am his right hand man and entirely loyal to him."