The battle of the “Rav Ovadia videos” continued Thursday, as a “new” video was revealed showing the late Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef praising ex-Shas chairman Eli Yishai.
In the video, the rabbi calls Yishai “my favorite, I love you – you are invited to be with me in the World to Come.”
The video was played on Army Radio Thursday morning. The recording was made during the last week's of Rabbi Yosef's life.
In the video, Yosef only discusses Yishai, and does not mention the Shas politician's rival Aryeh Deri, whom Yishai accuses of deposing him as party leader. Deri claims that he was appointed by Rabbi Yosef to lead the party.
Rather than remain in Shas as Deri's number two, Yishai is running at the head of his own party, Yachad Ha'am Itanu, in this year's elections.
A previous video unveiled in December shows Rabbi Yosef slamming Deri.
In that video, Rabbi Yosef refers to the possibility floated by some Shas members of Deri making a comeback following several years in the political wilderness, after being jailed for corruption in 1999.
"Anyone who suggests that isn't just wrong, he's a fool… 30%-40% (of Shas supporters) will leave us," the rabbi says. "They judged him in court – why take someone who is a thief?" the agitated Rabbi Yosef asks. "Why would you take someone who accepts bribes?”
That video was said to be several years old, while this new recording was made just months before Rabbi Yosef's death – at a point when Deri was already running Shas.
In response to the new recording, Deri confidantes said that “Yishai was busy with his recordings even when the rabbi was on his deathbed,” implying that Yishai somehow coerced Rabbi Yosef into making the comments.
They added that Yisha's list, which features activist Baruch Marzel, “does not in any way represent the heritage of Rabbi Yosef.”