“Chutzpan! Chutzpan! [Arrogant one! Arrogant one!] Get out! I will file a complaint against you with the [Army Radio’s] station director, Yaron Dekel!…There are no haredim in Army Radio and until there are, you are ousted from the Shas mincha!”
Above: Aryeh Deri, the head of the Shas Party
Shas Official Stops Army Radio Journalist From Praying, Kicks Him Out Of Party’s Open Mincha Prayer Service
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Just before the Sefardi haredi Shas Party begins its weekly meeting of its Knesset members, the party holds an mincha [afternoon] prayer service in its faction room in the Knesset office building. The prayer service open to all males in the building and is attended not only by the Shas Members of Knesset and their aides, but by Knesset employees and even Orthodox members of the media who need a place to pray.
But this week’s mincha was different, Yeshiva World reported based on a report in the haredi news website Kikar HaShabbat.
When Michael Shemesh, the haredi affairs correspondent for Army Radio, entered the room to pray, Barak Seri the spokesman for Minister of the Economy Aryeh Deri who heads the Shas Party, reportedly began screaming at Shemesh.
“Chutzpan! Chutzpan! [Arrogant one! Arrogant one!] Get out! I will file a complaint against you with the [Army Radio’s] station director, Yaron Dekel!…There are no haredim in Army Radio and until there are, you are ousted from the Shas mincha!” Seri screamed.
Shemesh was reportedly very embarrassed and onlookers were said to be shocked by Seri’s conduct, but no one publicly spoke up for him, not even Shas Members of Knesset who witnessed the incident.
Instead, those Shas politicians tried to make excuses for what Seri did and downplay the incident.
Speaking without attribution, Deri aides complained bitterly about Seri’s conduct and noted this was not the first time he had acted vengefully and bizarrely. One even said it was time for his boss to deal with Seri.
For his part, Seri is showing no remorse.
He reportedly told Kikar HaShabbat that Shemesh had been asked to wait outside with the rest of media and had disobeyed that request – a request he must follow because Shemesh is a soldier in uniform, Seri insisted – and odd contention when the mincha minyan is regularly open to anyone in the building and is frequented by members of the media as well as Knesset employees and staffers. Despite that, Seri told the haredi news website defiantly that he had filed a formal complaint about Shemesh’s alleged misconduct with Army Radio’s station director, Yaron Dekel.