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Sunday, January 13, 2013
Observation: Is Hospitalization of Rabbi Yosef a double edged sword for Shas?

Observation: Is Hospitalization of Rabbi Yosef a double edged sword for
Shas?

Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 13 January 2013

It is expected that the hospitalization of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi
Ovadia Yosef will prompt some wavering Shas supporters to vote for Shas as a
gesture to Rabbi Yosef. After all, people voted for the Kadima Party as a
gesture of support for Ariel Sharon – who was already in a coma.

Rabbi Yoseph's health incident, however, does serve as a reminder that at
age 92 and suffering from various health problems, there is a significant
possibility that at some time during the course of the next government Rabbi
Yoseph will not be giving marching orders to the Shas MKs and ministers.

This is particularly significant when one considers that, as Radical leftist
Uri Avnery put it in an interview, Aryeh Deri is "more radical" for peace
than even Uri Avnery.

So the question is: how many Shas supporters, who identify with the national
camp, will hesitate to strengthen Ariyeh Deri in the knowledge that Rabbi
Ovadia Yosef may not be in a position to keep Deri in line?

While on the topic of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, it is appropriate to note that his
rulings regarding "land for peace" are consistent with his views on Jewish
law and not some kind of political manipulation.

Concern for life threatening situations ("pikuach nefesh") weighs heavily in
the positions that Rabbi Yosef takes.

The "pikuach nefesh" standard for Rabbi Yosef relies heavily on expectations
regarding the short term rather than long term consequences of a decision.

This was the basis for his support, at times, for "land for peace" deals
that opponents of the initiatives warned would ultimately lead to huge
losses.

When projected medium or longer term losses are heavily discounted they can
be swamped by short term benefits.

This creates a situation that he may support policies that rank and file
Shas members vehemently object to.

Do these Shas supporters understand this?

Probably not. The odds are better that they are blindly accepting his
judgment -or at least outwardly accepting his judgment. What they do at the
voting booth may be another story…

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il Website: http://www.imra.org.il

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