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Shas Leader Deri Fails In Municipal Elections

Since his political comeback after 13 years of exile, Shas Party Chairman Aryeh Deri is committing every imaginable mistake, jeopardizing his stand within the party. 
Aryeh Deri (C), leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, attends an annual pilgrimage to the gravesite of Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, a Moroccan-born sage and kabbalist also known as the Baba Sali, in the southern town of Netivot January 14, 2013.  Powerful political players for years, Israel's ultra-Orthodox parties must now reckon with a new force ushered in by voters bent on stripping them of perks they have relied on for decades. Picture taken January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS

At noon on Monday, Oct. 28 — shortly before the conference at Shas headquarters in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Hotzvim, filled with members of the party’s Knesset faction — some unknown person hung a photo on the wall showing Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Shas Party Chairman Aryeh Deri at a time when they were especially close. In an unusual move, Deri decided to hold Shas’ weekly meeting in its offices in Har Hotzvim, instead of at the Knesset. Within Shas, the decision was interpreted as an attempt by Deri to avoid contact with the media, just one week after his resounding failure in the local elections.

The mood in that crowded room was unsettled and tense. Some members of the party’s Knesset faction snickered when they noticed the lone photograph adorning the room’s stark white walls. The photo wasn’t there before, and it had obviously been put up hastily upon orders from above, not only to clarify who the real boss of the party was, but also who appointed him: the late Rabbi Yosef, who passed away this month on Oct. 7.

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