Former Shas MK Nissim Ze'ev, who was ousted by party head Aryeh Deri in January, spoke out on Friday in support of former Shas head Eli Yishai, who is dealing with large debts after his Yachad – Ha'am Itanu party that ran on a joint list with Otzma Yehudit just missed out in the last elections.
Ze'ev told Arutz Sheva that Yishai is being relentlessly persecuted in recent days with threats demanding he immediately pay debts to suppliers, workers and service providers from the elections campaign that came within 10,000 votes of making it past the threshold that was raised by the last coalition.
Bringing another example, Ze'ev said, "a child worked on election day and they owe him 470 shekels, his dad contacts Eli Yishai and tells him 'if you won't pay by tomorrow I'll turn to a lawyer and invest thousands of shekels to sue you.' I don't understand this frenzy, Eli will pay everything."
Backing up that assurance, he noted that "after all, (Yishai) could really have declared himself bankrupt – so a little bit of patience."
Ze'ev said the debts should be paid within a year, adding, "there are friends who volunteer and are making calls, and really anyone who helps and aids is doing chesed (kindness) with no interest. I'm convinced it will take a little time but all of the debts will be returned. That's what he's doing all day, trying to recruit funds."
Gathering funds, encouraging others
The former MK, who was among the Shas founders, spoke about problems at the ballot box on election day which he said "I know from my own knowledge and not rumors," in an apparent reference to the massive voter fraud campaign against Yachad by Shas activists in the elections.
At least two Shas activists were arrested on election day for making tiny marks on Yachad voter slips so as to invalidate them and rob citizens of their democratic right to vote. Later recordings revealed how Shas activists gave briefings on how to conduct the voter fraud, indicating the large scale of the actions.
Speaking about his own work to aid Yishai, Ze'ev said, "what I'm doing may be a drop in the ocean, but we're trying to encourage others. …We succeeded in gathering 50,000 shekels (just over $13,000) but that's really just cents and we are calling on the public to lend a hand to this man who worked so many years for the benefit of the general public."
"It is important to give precisely when someone falls, people maybe say 'what will I get from it?' But all the more so, in that you will be examined precisely when there aren't (personal) interests, that's tzedakah (charity) for the sake of Heaven," said Ze'ev. "The donation is to personally help to save Rabbi Eliyahu (Yishai) and Yoni Chetboun, who are dear people."
According to the former MK Yachad isn't the only one dealing with elections debts.
Shas has also been hard hit, he said, and is asking suppliers to take into account the party's massive drop from 11 to seven mandates and the drop in its budget due to the failure in elections.