Ovadia: Shas to Quit Gov't if J'lem Is on Agenda

Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef said he will order the party to leave the governing coalition if the question of Jerusalem is raised in negotiations with the Palestinians.

Rabbi Yosef hosted a meeting of rabbis at his home during the weekend, including the rabbis of the Old City. Also at the meeting was Nahman Zoldan, whose son Ido Zoldan was murdered a week ago by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank.

The meeting was initiated by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, who is the founder and director of the Temple Institute. It also stemmed from the opinion raised by Rabbi Haim Cohen that Shas must immediately withdraw from the coalition because the current government threatens the unity of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, right-wing protesters are holding a vigil in front of the house of the Shas chairman - Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai. They are protesting the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox party's continued presence in the government.

Yishai called the speeches made in Annapolis, including the one by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, "dreams." He said Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas "is unable to govern and disarm the terrorists."

In a previous statement, Yishai said that Shas did not intend to withdraw from the government after the Annapolis declarations because he did not think the vision for the future there had a chance to be implemented.

"We must stop dreaming and burying our heads in the sand," he said. "At this time, this is a fantasy. It is not happening and it cannot happen. Whoever thinks that it is possible to end a conflict of hundreds of years in a single year is dreaming."