The police's recommendation to blame Shas Ariee Deri for various charges of corruption is the latest episode of a tragic fall in the grace of a talented, dynamic and charismatic politician whose life work, which enhances the dignity of his community, may be overshadowed by his personal shortcomings.
Shas has already survived the indictment and conviction of Deri once he was sentenced in 2000 to a three-year imprisonment for charges of bribery; but the party is not the same as at that time, neither its public nor a political map.
Critically, in 2018 Shas is stripped of his only assets, which are more valuable than Deri himself, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a revered and much beloved leader of Sephardic Jewry who died in 2013.
In the election that followed Yosef's death, Shas dropped from 11 Christian seats to just seven and lost the vast majority of his traditionally religious base, which had no reason to vote for the haredi party and had new political icons instead.
The number of Shas votes has fallen even more dangerously with the electoral threshold, but only with solid municipal election campaigns and significant successes in these elections have these numbers brought up to six.
What would happen if Deri were indicted and forced to resign as a minister? It seems unlikely that he could re-gather at this stage a number of Sephardic voters, haredi and traditional, around him again, just as he did for the first time in legal problems in the 1990s.
Deri's picture, which has already been marked, suffered further from the announcement of new financial investigations. Party voters, especially the remaining traditional religious supporters, will be less willing to get their defense a second time.
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And trying to claim that the Ashkenazi political and social elite pursued him for being a proud Sephardi leader, he gained less sympathy than during the first trials.
Ashkenaz Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sent to jail, just like Minister of Finance, Avraham Hirschson, while the current prime minister was also the subject of police recommendations to accuse him.
Nowadays, it is harder to say that the control of public officials is done only against the Sephardi controls.
At the same time Sephardic politicians have further deepened a number of non-sectarian parties, undermining the demands of discrimination against such leaders.
Avi Gabbay, a Moroccan heritage, leads the bastion of the Askeen privilege and elitism, the Labor Party, while Moshe Kahlon, born to Libyan parents, is the leading coalition partner to Likud and Miri Regev, also a Moroccan heritage, one of the strongest and most popular personalities in the Likud side. only a few.
Notably, Sha'i rabbis on the council of the Torah wise men have been disturbed on Deri's side and declared innocent, with his president and spiritual leader Shas's side, rabbi Shalom Cohen, saying he is waiting for more news than to drop his weight for Deri.
It seems unlikely that in the case of the indictment, Cohen, whose son Deri was disturbed, would support the leader of the Shas, as Yosef did in the 1990s, or that Deri could indeed survive as the president of Shasu.
If he were to go, there are few attractive candidates to replace him. Former Shas MK and Minister Ariel Attias could well come back to save him, and despite being a talented and sharp politician, he misses Deri's charisma and charm.
Current Shas MK and former Minister Yakov Margi was considered a possible lead material, but as Attias does not have any of Deri's star qualities.
And then there was always a ghost of Elijah Yishai, the man Deri pulled aside as he returned to Shas and set off from the party's presidency and eventually into the political wilderness. Yishad's Yahada's party failed, albeit narrowly, to reach the Knesset in 2015.
Yishai drastically lacks magnetism and personality, unlike Deri, but has built a functioning political party that has gained a small number of seats in the recent local elections.
It is unlikely that Yishai will return to Shas and abolish his Yahweh party, but a system where both sides run on common slate and Yishai's spiritual mentor Rabbi Meir Mazuz is brought into a significant role by rabbinic leadership can be feasible.
In any situation where Deri is indicted and no longer has Shas, the party will lose its remaining traditionally religious voters, which could make up to two of the current seven mandates.
Only voters from the Sephardi haredi who would probably continue to vote for it, regardless of charisma or lack of their new leadership, will be cast aside.
That would leave it dangerously close to the election threshold, and Deri and Yosef might be in real trouble.
Ultimately, however, regardless of the election wealth in Knesset in the near future, Shas will survive without a leader who shines so brightly but again threatens to burn out and fall to the ground.
Shas is a movement with established institutions, most notably the Maayan Hinuch Torani School Network with 51,500 pupils. It has local politics, the length and breadth of the country and has the highest number of representatives in municipal councils than any other party.
Even if Deri's time as President Shas finally ends up with a second charge, the movement is likely to live on and probably regain some of his former glory.
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