The Moetzet Chachmei Hatorah of Shas has rejected a request by party chairman Aryeh Deri that he be permitted to resign as chairman of the party.
The rejection was agreed at a late-night meeting, following the receipt of a letter from Deri in which he asked to be relieved of the leadership.
Deri’s request was the latest bombshell in a long-running feud between Deri and former party leader Eli Yishai. It followed the release on Sunday of recordings of statements by Rav Ovadia Yosef zt”l.
Haaretz reports that in his letter, Deri wrote: “The pain that pierced my heart yesterday was worse than that when [Rav Yosef] died… I decided to come before [the council] to return the responsibility that you entrusted to me.”
Yishai left the party two weeks ago to found a new party, Ha’am Itanu.
Deri responded to the tapes on Sunday by saying that Yishai was trampling Rav Yosef’s honor “for his petty personal interests … he betrayed the trust the rav placed in him,” Haaretz reported.
It is speculated that Deri offered his resignation, hpoing that they would reject his offer and that they will ask him to stay on, which he hopes will bolster his standing as a result.