Israel Election Updates / Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri Resigns From Knesset

76 days to go: Eli Yishai denies leaking tape about Deri.

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Moshe Kahlon.
Moshe Kahlon.Credit: Nir Kafri
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Haaretz

Monday's political summary: Shas chairman Aryeh Deri asked to resign his post as Shas chairman after his rival Eli Yishai released supposedly damning tapes of Shas' deceased spiritual leader slamming him as a 'thief.' For full story, click here.

And, according to the latest poll by Israel Channel 2, the joint Labor Party-Hatnuah ticket would win 24 Knesset seats if the election were held today, the same number the Channel 2 pollsters gave Likud. For full poll results, click here.

Latest updates:

9:40 P.M.  MK Adi Kol resigns

Yesh Atid MK Adi Kol decides to retire from political life, saying that "the last two years were an empowering experience."  Yarden Skop

8:00 P.M. Aryeh Deri, Shas MKs resign from the Knesset

Shas chairman, Aryeh Deri submitted his resignation from the Knesset Tuesday evening, following the release on Sunday of recordings of damning statements by the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the party's founder and spiritual leader. One of Deri's associates told Haaretz that Deri is not sharing his future plans with party officials. In addition, all current Shas MKs also submitted letters of resignation on Tuesday evening.

MK Eli Yishai, who recently left Shas to form his own party, spoke about allegations that he was responsible for leaking the footage. "That is not my way," said Yishai, adding "they said I should ask for forgiveness, but those same people who acted against the will of Maran [deceased Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef] are the ones who should ask for forgiveness." (Yair Ettinger, Jonathan Lis)

12:46 P.M. Meretz launches new campaign, promises next government sans Netanyahu

Meretz launched its election campaign on Tuesday, tag-lined "Change with Meretz."

"March 17 marks the end of the Netanyahu era," Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On said in the campaign launch event. "There'll be a center-left government and Meretz will be the moral and ideological spearhead of that government."

"I call on the party chairmen – the chairman of the Labor, chairman of Yesh Atid, chairman of Kulanu, the chairmen of the haredi parties, chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu – not to agree on a rotation deal and not to join a government with Bibi Netanyahu, because rotation with Netanyahu is defeatism, and no whitewashed name for another four years of Likud rule will change that," she said. (Ilan Lior)

11:19 A.M. Eli Yishai to address tape affair tonight

MK Eli Yishai, chairman of the Yahad Ha'am Itanu party, will give a statement tonight regarding the release of the tape which led Aryeh Deri to ask to resign from Shas.

Yishai will give the statement at a party conference in the southern town of Sderot on Tuesday evening. Yishai was accused on Monday by Rabbi David Yosef, a member of the Shas sages council, of leaking the tape of Shas' deceased spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef, supposedly damning Deri. (Yair Ettinger)

10:58 A.M. Kulanu: Palestinian UN resolution 'pushing away possibility of agreement'

Moshe Kahlon's party, Kulanu, issued a statement regarding the Palestinian resolution calling for a deadline to the occupation, filed with the UN Security Council on Monday. The resolution is "pushing away the possibility of a diplomatic agreement," said the statement.

"Anyone who still thinks that a person who spearheads such a move does so in order to promote a peace deal which ends the conflict and any future demands and recognizes a Jewish and democratic state is simply deluding himself. It's time to take our fate in our own hands," said the statement. (Ilan Lior)

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