The Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah, the spiritual leadership of the Shas party, rejected a letter of resignation by party Chairman Aryeh Deri, and its members met with him on Tuesday to plead with him to stay at the helm of the party.
Deri, who formally resigned from the Knesset on Tuesday, has until January 29 to decide whether he will run as the leader of Shas in the March 17 general election. As of Tuesday evening, it was reported that Deri, deeply anguished by personal attacks against him, is still determined to retire from politics.
In his letter to the Moetzet on Monday, Deri asked for former Shas minister Ariel Atias to take his place as the party’s leader. A rally was held on Tuesday night in front of Deri’s home in the Har Nof section of Yerushalayim. Those who gathered erected a tent and said they would stay there until Deri agrees to stay as leader of Shas.
If Deri does indeed retire from politics, his departure is expected to create a significant political upheaval and uncertainty in the upcoming election.
MKs from UTJ added their voices on Tuesday to the chorus of calls asking Deri to retract his resignation.