Yishai: Seculars Should Look in the Mirror About Discrimination


eli-yishai“Don’t preach us,” Shas Chairman Eli Yishai said last night in response to accusations that the Shas party “disappeared” during the racial segregation affair at the girls’ school in Emmanuel, which reached the High Court and ended with dozens of fathers being sent to prison.

In an interview with Yom L’Yom, Yishai reiterated Shas’ position as initially presented by Rav Ovadia Yosef a week ago and objects discrimination but supports a solution within the charedi community, without the involvement of the Supreme Court.

Yishai also responded to all the secular criticism in recent days against racial discrimination in the charedi community and urged them to first look at themselves. “The true facts must be presented once and for all,” he said in the interview.

“The High Court only has one Sephardic judge, while the 14 others are Ashkenazim. None of the nine Supreme Court presidents were Sephardic, nor were any of the 12 prime ministers since the establishment of the State of Israel.”

Yishai explained his decision to wave the ethnic argument: “When I spoke about anti-Sephardic discrimination, decision-makers told me to keep the demon in the bottle. But when they speak of discrimination against charedim , they open these bottles as if they were champagnes,” he said.

The interior minister continued to present his data: “Eight university presidents in Israel – none of which is Sephardic. Nine Israeli Presidents, only two of which were Sephardic. 21 officers serving as generals – only six of them Sephardic – and the list goes on and on.

“Do you know that in all the Knesset’s parties, from both the coalition and opposition, except for Shas, there is not a single Sephardic party leader? And they are preaching us that only charedim have discrimination and racism?” he exclaimed.

{Ynet/Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. Yishai didn’t learn what Reb Yisroel Salanter said that all the evils in world happen, not because of the gentiles, nor because of the non-observant Jews, but because of us, because of Yishai, and I, and you, and the rest of us. We are the only ones that can make a difference. Yes, there is discrimination against sefardim within the Torah observant world. And we must do something about it.

  2. @Dovid

    What Reb Yisroel Salanter said is something that all of us should take to heart. It is something that Chareidim everywhere need to think about a little more deeply — especially during the three weeks. We frum Jews are always looking to get better.

    However, Yishai was right. In public forums there is no reason to allow a Chillul Hashem. Te secular world claims to be better. Yishai rightfully exposed their claim.

    BTW, the Bnei Rochel, especially from Yosef, were always the ones to stand up to Eisav – as represented by the West. Shevet Yehuda was better against Yishmoel. There are those who say that Ashkenazim are mostly from Yosef, while Sefardim are mostly from Yehuda. (Obviously excluding Cohanim and some others). If this is true, then if Sefardim were in charge of Israel, they would have an easier time dealing with the Arabs. For example, the Sefardim were living in Yerushalayim peacefully hundreds of years ago, until the Ashkenazim came and got expelled.

  3. It is true that there is much racism among secular Israelis, and it is truly unfair to hurl such an accusation at chareidim when the problem is a national one. However, despite the magnitude of this problem in Israel, we must look at ourselves and realize that YES, it IS a problem in Chareidi circles. In some respects, the problem my be less with Chareidim, in other respects it is worse. I live in Israel, and I see first hand how AMAZING Sephardic families who are truly an example of how a home of Torah and Yiras Shamayim should be, are not accepted to mainstream Yeshivish chadarim. I have heard the argument that they should send to their own schools due to differences in customs, etc.. but I believe that if a family wants to send to a particular school, they should not be rejected ONLY because they are Sephardic (and the school already accepted their 10-20% quota). This is sad- I have no other words for this. We must now look at ourselves and what we can do to change this unfortunate (and hurtful) trend.