After a slew of damaging videos showing former Shas spiritual guide Rabbi Ovadia Yosef condemning party chairperson Aryeh Deri, which forced Deri to step down temporarily, tension has boiled over again as Rabbi Yosef's children have refused a request to hand over tapes of their father for an election video.
Walla! reports that senior members in Shas's elections campaign contacted several of Rabbi Yosef's family members on Sunday, asking for videos from the rabbi's life that could be used in the elections – and were promptly refused over ongoing tension with Deri.
Shas has focused exclusively on a social campaign to help the needy in the current elections, and after a decision last week to produce a new campaign video with images from Rabbi Yosef to focus on religious issues, a member of the party contacted the father-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Yosef, who was particularly close to his late father Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
"They want to make a video, let them do that, but they won't get material from us," the family reportedly responded to the request.
Speaking to the Hebrew-language news outlet, several of the family members said the party had discounted them since Rabbi Yosef's death, particularly after recordings of the rabbi criticizing Deri were revealed with the party claiming the family had leaked the recordings, which the family slammed as being untrue.
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 revealed it was Deri who was behind Shas's position on Oslo, and not Rabbi Yosef as Deri later claimed.
Shas denied the reports of tensions with Rabbi Yosef's family, saying the rabbi's children have been helping the campaign.
Indeed, after the recordings were released the rabbi's children were "cynically" used to decry the leaked video.
Rabbi Yosef's daughter, Rabbanit Adina Bar-Shalom, was among those supporting Shas but recordings released last December exposed that Bar-Shalom herself slammed Deri recently, saying "he is not behaving in the way my father expected him to."
She reportedly has been threatened with consequences if she doesn't write a letter condemning former Shas chairperson Eli Yishai, who broke off to form Yachad – Ha'am Itanu.
Aside from Rabbi Yosef's familiy, Deri has apparently put himself at odds with senior members of the party, ousting Shas founder MK Nissim Ze'ev late last month.