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SHAS is a political party in the State of Israel, its name an abbreviation derived from "Shomrei Torah Sephardim-Sephardi Torah Guardians". It is a religious party made up of North African Sephardi Jews, differentiated from the major secular parties, the neo-Orthodox religious parties of European Ashkenazi Jews, and the non-Zionist Haredi Jews that do not participate in the political process.[1]

While it was politically marginal for some time, it won a number of Knesset seats in the 1999 election, and the fifth-highest-polling party in 2009. Its head, Eli Yishai, is Israeli Interior Minister in the current coalition. It is regarded as right-wing, although not as hostile to the peace process Yisrael Beiteinu. [2]

It is Orthodox in orientation, and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu told the world Conservative movement that the statements of Religious Services Minister Ya'acov Margi did not represent the position of the government.[3] Margi opposed government funding of non-Orthodox groups, which represent the majority of Jews in North America.[4]