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Shas Party (Israel)

Histadrut Ha'Sepharadim Ha'Olamit Shomrei Torah, World Federation of Sephards' Torah Guardians

Last modified: 2011-07-09 by andrew weeks
Keywords: shas | histadrut sepharadim somrei torah |
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[Labour Party (Israel)]
image by Željko Heimer

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The current party of Sephardic Jews is SHAS (Mifleget Sfaradim Somrei Torah) which is mainly a religious party and is the third in strength in the Knesset. No official flag but I saw a bold black 'shin' and 'samekh' letters over white background here and there. As in other parties where the party letters became its common name, the same is with Shas.
Dov Gutterman, 14 November 2001

Shas is a Hebrew word - an acronym meaning the Talmud, standing for Shisha Sedarim, the "six orders" or sections of the Talmud. It always seemed to me that Shas had to twist the letters of its real name to get Shas - the normal acronym should be "MaSaSHaT" or at most "Sash", but those mean nothing.
Dov Gutterman, 14 November 2001

This week there was the "official" begining of 2003 elections campeign. (Elections due to 28 January). I am watching the TV promotions just to see if any flags are used.
I saw the flag of the SHASH party (Histadrut Sefaradim Shomrei Torah - Federation of Sefaradim (Spainians = Oriental Jews) Torah Guardians) - black party's initials (shin-samekh) inside gold (or green in another variant) torah tablets on white background.
Dov Gutterman, 9 January 2003

Aren't Sephards (as opposed to Ashkenzi) the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, fled to the New World, Flanders, Anatolia and Northern Africa in the 1500ies? Wouldn't that make them western Jews?...
António Martins-Tuválkin, 12 January 2003

Well, yes, strictly speaking. But the term "Sephardim" is used to refer (perhaps incorrectly) to Jews from Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, Yemen, and so on, not to mention Greece, the Balkans, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey (the latter actually settled by Spanish Jews). That's all "East," but a more correct term for the former communities is "Edot HaMizrach," (Communities of the East).
Nathan Lamm, 12 January 2003

Full name in 2003 elections: Hitahdut HaSfaradim HaOlamit Shomrei Torah (Federation of World Sefaradic Torah Guardians)
Letters: Shin Sameh (SHAS)
Flag/logo: The letters in bleck inside Torah tablets in green over white background. There is also an inscription in the lower side.
Remarks: Religious party of the Oriental Jews (Sepharadim=Spanish).
Dov Gutterman, 27 January 2003

Here is another example how the party letters became its popular name. The list of Shas - Hitakhdut HaSfaradim HaOlamit Somrei Torah (Torah Keepers SefaradicGlobal Federation) was submitted by party with the same name. Its leader is Eli Yishai and its letters are, of course, shin-samekh. Web site at <>.
Shas is also an Hebrew initials which is an acronym meaning the Talmud, standing for Shisha Sedarim, the "six orders" or sections of the Talmud.
Shas was founded in 1984 by its spiritual leader Rabbi Aqiva Yosef to represent the Sefaradic religious people and as counter-weight to the "Askenazian" religious parties. It biggest success was in 1999 elections with 17 seats. It got only 11 seats in 2003 elections and 12 in 2006 but still is the strongest religious party in Israel.
Shas is also became infamous as some of its leader found themselves in prison following corruption charges.
Party logo is the letters shin-samekh inside tablets. As a flag the letters are black while the tablets are green, all on white background as seen at a photo here.
Dov Gutterman
, 26 March and 7 June 2006