As the deadline to submit Knesset lists looms Thursday night, recently returned Shas chairman Aryeh Deri has had MK Nissim Ze'ev – who founded the party in 1983 – ousted, despite having previously promising him a spot on the party list.
The Shas Council of Torah Sages met on Thursday evening and decided to have Ze'ev removed from the list; Ze'ev was considered a right-wing member of the haredi party that has been increasingly siding with the political left.
Given the last minute change, the Shas list is to be as follows:
1. Aryeh Deri
2. Itzik Cohen
3. Meshulam Nahari
4. Ya'akov Margi
5. David Azulai
6. Yoav Ben-Tzur
7. Yitzhak Vaknin
8. Avraham Michaeli
9. Chaim Biton (Shas director)
10. Yigal Gueta (Bnei Brak councilman)
11. Michael Malchiel (Jerusalem councilman)
12. Rafi Barnes (Bat Yam councilman)
The most recent poll showed Shas getting a mere six seats, down from its current ten – some polls have shown it faring even more poorly.
Earlier on Thursday Shas MK Amnon Cohen sent a letter to the Shas Council of Torah Sages and Deri, asking to step down and take a break from politics.
"After indecision and counseling with my close family I decided not to run for the 20th Knesset," wrote Cohen. "I dedicated my whole life for the movement and I will continue from outside."
Deri said in response "Amnon is one of the most outstanding MKs that was in the movement, I respect his will. I agreed with Amnon that he will continued to contribute his great experience to the movement and to faithfully represent members of the Bukharian community and all Shas voters."
Last month Deri temporarily stepped down and quit the Knesset as a way to manage the damage caused by leaked recordings of Shas spiritual head Rabbi Ovadia Yosef zt''l.
In the recordings, Rabbi Yosef is seen in private meetings condemning Deri for his corruption that had him jailed in 1999 and explaining he didn't want to reappoint him as head of Shas – and even going as far as to refer to him as "evil." Another recording showed Deri and not Rabbi Yosef was responsible for allowing the 1993 Oslo Accords to pass.