Above: MK Ariel Atias
Senior Shas Politician Resigns From Knesset
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Former Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias, 44, announced today that he is resigning from Knesset, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Atias, a member of the Sefardi haredi Shas Party and a close ally of Shas’s chairman, Aryeh Deri, said his decision was made because of the heavy work load being in the Knesset entails and his desire to leave Knesset that stemmed from the death in October of Shas’s founder and spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
“After many years of intensive work for the good of the public, day and night, and after the death of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, I felt the need to take a time out from the Knesset,” Atias said in a statement, adding that he was fortunate to have been “an emissary of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef” serving the public to the best of his abilities.
Atias was previously accused of illegally funneling public housing funds to haredim to the exclusion of others and may eventually face formal charges – although this apparently had nothing to do with his resignation.
Deri – who is himself a felon convicted of public corruption on charges similar to those Atias could one day face – reportedly tried to convince Atias not to quit.
Atias will reportedly be replaced by Yoav Ben-Tzur – the former head of the Shas network of schools, Ma’ayan HaHinuch HaTorani – who held the twelfth spot of the 2013 Shas list.
Atias served in the Knesset from the 2006 election onward.
He was Minister of Communications in the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and then Housing and Construction Minister in the previous government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.