Breaking News: Rabbi Asis Is Eli Yishai's Candidate in Beit Shemesh

Benny Klein
כ"ט טבת ה'תשע"ח 16/01/18
The opening shot for one of the most interesting battles of the Beit Shemesh elections came unexpectedly from Eli Yishai. Rabbi David Asis, experienced educator and principal will try to bite into Shas' electoral base…

Is Eli Yishai the Beit Shemesh elections' surprise?

Less than a year away from the elections and the mayor gets a preview of his worst headache.

Mayor Moshe Abutbul, head of Beit Shemesh's Shas party, cannot allow himself a weak municipal showing in the election. But Eli Yishai's "Yachad" party might very well alter the political constellation to a huge degree, with effects felt throughout the municipality.

In the last couple of weeks, Eli Yishai chose a local candidate for his "Yachad" Beit Shemesh branch: Rabbi David Asis. Rabbi Asis is a capable man, and this is a wise pick on Yishai's part.

With Rabbi Meir Mazuz's backing, Rabbi Asis held a round of quiet meetings last week, attempting to garner a strong political base.

The rabbi is a well-known and well-respected figure among the veteran residents of Beit Shemesh. He is one of the supporters of Rabbi Katz's Kollel and has many admirers.

Rabbi Asis hopes to rally disaffected Charedim as well. He believes those who are frustrated with the current administration will abandon their home base party: Shas, for a Religious\Charedi party with aspirations of expert municipal management. Rabbi Asis himself has sons learning in Kollel, and his views and looks are those of a regular, mainstream Charedi man.

After years of founding and managing Ahavat Yisrael schools, and various Dati Leumi institutions, he may find himself sweeping in the Anglo and National Religious crowd, as well.

With these strong cards, Rabbi Asis hopes to lead a strong party, which will have a clear voice in any future coalition Abutbul hopes to build.

The hoped-for winds of change in the city might well come from an unexpected place, such as a party looking out for the general welfare, without differentiating between residents' way of life or ethnicity.

Rabbi Asis is also known to the community as the most-qualified candidate for municipal Education Director, who was nevertheless, skipped over the post.

At the end of the day, the council headed by Abutbul, instead of appointing a professional, experienced manager for the long-suffering education system, elected someone whose daughter is married to a friend of MK Aryeh Deri.

When he didn't receive the job, commented Rabbi Asis: The result is inexplicable to me. How can the job be contracted to someone who doesn't know the system, and who isn't a local resident, contrary to the auction's original announcement?"

Rabbi Asis is quoted claiming the auction was "tampered with".

The hasty move may have earned Moshe Abutbul his current nightmare. And maybe Eli Yishai just found the first base from which to defeat his enemy: Shas.

This article first appeared in Hebrew.

Translation: Yehuda Segal