The Moetzet Chachmei Hatorah led by Chacham Ovadia Yosef today called on Shas MK Rabbi Chaim Amsalem to return the mandate he received from the leader of the council and resign from the Knesset.
During a council meeting, convened specifically to discuss the issue of Amsalem and his views on yeshiva stipends and religious conversions, it was decided that if Amsalem does not resign or return the mandate, he will be considered a thief.
In the meeting, attended by all members of the council and Shas leader Eli Yishai, recent media interviews by Amsalem were heard. According to the secretary of the council, Rabbi Raphael Pinschi, Rav Yosef burst into tears after hearing Amsalem’s words.
On Motozei Shabbos, Rav Yosef crticized Rabbi Amsalem in his weekly drasha, in his first public reference to the MK , who on Wednesday announced that he wouldn’t return his mandate despite the growing animosity toward him in the party’s leadership.
“There are those who speak about yeshivot, as though they were created solely for great Torah scholars who will become rabbonim and dayanim, and if that doesn’t suit the person, he should go to work,” Rav Yosef said of Amsalem’s doctrine, without naming him.
Amsalem on Wednesday said that he had no moral right to return his mandate to Shas, since “My place in the Knesset belongs to the public that chose me and supported me.”
However, a direct imperative from Rav Yosef would be very difficult for him to refuse, especially after his spiritual patron, Rabbi Meir Mazuz, told the MK in a letter that his future in Shas was in Rav Yosef’s hands.