Ultra-Orthodox Party Shas Marketing Government Aid as Chairman's Personal Initiative

Shas ads marketing food coupons as a personal project of Arye Dery have popped up throughout the country

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'Caring for the weak is a tradition!' A Shas campaign poster featuring Arye Dery, left, and party founder Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, in the southern city of Ashkelon, last week.
'Caring for the weak is a tradition!' A Shas campaign poster featuring Arye Dery, left, and party founder Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, in the southern city of Ashkelon, last week.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

An Interior Ministry plan to give out food coupons has been marketed in at least nine cities as the personal initiative of Interior Minister Arye Dery, Shas’ chairman, in a manner that could constitute illegal electioneering.

The plan got cabinet approval in July, and it has recently been advertised in flyers bearing the cities’ logos, on their websites and on the Facebook pages of Shas local councilmen.

In Bat Yam synagogues, for example, pamphlets were distributed at the initiative of councilman Raphael Barnaz. Shas councilmen were behind the distribution of similar flyers in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Holon and other cities. In Nof Hagalil and Safed, the ad appeared on the cities’ websites.

Some of the cities in question said they had not approved the use of their official logo, or that the ad appeared on their websites by mistake. Dery’s office said, “The ads are not connected in any way to Minister Dery or the Interior Ministry.”

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