Shas leader Aryeh Deri and UTJ leader Ya’acov Litzman urge the ultra-Orthodox to vote against a perceived threat to Jewish character of the state.

By JEREMY SHARON
 MARCH 23, 2021 11:52

Head of Shas and Interior Minister, Arye Deri voted at a polling station close to his house on Kablan Street in Jerusalem. (photo credit: YAAKOV COHEN)
Head of Shas and Interior Minister, Arye Deri voted at a polling station close to his house on Kablan Street in Jerusalem.(photo credit: YAAKOV COHEN)

Shas chairman Aryeh Deri kicked off his election day with what has now turned into a standard ritual of praying the morning prayer service at the grave of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas’ late revered spiritual leader. Deri was accompanied by Yosef’s son Rabbi David Yosef, himself a member of Shas Council of Torah Sages and psalms were recited at the grave site for the success of Shas in the election, described by the ultra-Orthodox parties as “fateful” for the community.  “We are emissaries of you, master [Yosef] and today we are going to carry out your mission to grow your holy movement which you established for the honor of God,” said Deri.  “Father, we are standing by your grave and praying that you help us in Heaven,” said the younger Yosef. “We are fighting here for the sanctity of Judaism, for the holy Shabbat, for the poor, orphans, and widows, we are fighting to strengthen our holy Torah and to restore the crown to its former glory,” he continued. 

Following the prayer service, Deri went to vote at his polling station in the ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof on Hakablan street where he lives just a few doors down from where the late rabbi lived. “Today the voter has his say, and the voter has two choices: a bloc that wants a Jewish state headed by Netanyahu with a strong Shas or the other bloc which wants a civil state headed by [Yesh Atid leader Yair] Lapid,” said Deri. Senior United Torah Judaism leader and Housing and Construction Minister Ya’acov Litzman voted in his Ezrat Torah Jerusalem neighborhood, declaring in even starker terms the perils he asserted face the ultra-Orthodox community. Construction and Housing Minister Ya’acov Litzman votes in Israel's March 23, 2021 election.

Construction and Housing Minister Ya’acov Litzman votes in Israel’s March 23, 2021 election.“ UTJ and all the sacred things of Israel are in the balance,” declared Litzman.  “I call on everyone to go and vote in accordance with the instructions of the great rabbis of this generation. The time has come to decide: to vote for UTJ is an obligation on the day of determination, because we will be victorious over the incitement and hatred of the haters of religion.” 

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