"I promise that everyone who acts [in support of the Shas Party for the elections] - Father [Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the late founder and spiritual leader of the party and the supreme leader of Sefardi haredim for decades] will stand for them above in prayer for success in all things."
Above: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (d. 2013)
Sefardi Haredi Shas Party Allegedly Breaks Israel Election Law – Again
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The Sefardi haredi Shas Party apparently broke Israel’s election law again, this time when its Council of Torah Sages ordered directors of the dozens of Shas schools across the country to work for the party’s election campaign, Arutz Sheva reported.
A member of the Council of Torah Sages, Rabbi David Yosef, also promised Shas voters and supporters a special blessing non-Shas voters and supporters could not receive.
"I promise that everyone who acts [in support of the Shas Party for the elections] - Father [Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the late founder and spiritual leader of the party and the supreme leader of Sefardi haredim for decades] will stand for them above in prayer for success in all things," David Yosef, Ovadia Yosef’s son, reportedly promised.
Schools that receive government money, as Shas schools do, cannot be involved in electioneering in any way.
Previously, Shas has illegally given amulets to people who promise to vote for the party. It also offered a special blessing from its then-spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (d. 2013) for those who vote for Shas and issued curses from a line of top Sefardi haredi rabbis, including purported kabbalists, for those who do not. Shas also has allegedly previously used its large school system as a tool of its election campaigns, sending notes home with children reminding or even ordering their parents to vote for Shas, and offering thinly-veiled threats of expulsion of their children if they do not do so. All of this violates Israel’s election law.
After the party’s Council of Torah Sages issued its order, Hiddush (the freedom of and from religion nonprofit advocacy group) threatened to petition the High Court of Justice against Shas. That reportedly prompted the party’s legal adviser, Attorney Nadav Asael, to send a letter to Hiddush’s head, Reform Rabbi Uri Regev, promising that it would not use its school system for electioneering.
"I have ordered members of the headquarters not to use institution directors for propaganda. Also, I contacted the legal adviser of the education network [of Shas Party schools], Attorney Adi Glass, asking to put out a notice from the network to all teachers and directors reminding them of the prohibition and the limitations on them in terms of advancing propaganda…he promised to do so immediately," Asael wrote.
While the problem of amulets for votes and other similar schemes is primarily a Shas problem, the Ashkenazi haredi Untied Torah Judaism Party has also engaged in similar conduct by offering blessings or, more recently, by threatening ostracism, excommunication and expulsion of children from school of any Ashkenazi haredi who breaks ranks to support a rival party.