Our holy Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef of saintly and blessed memory (photo, above) founded "Shas" as an organization to revitalize the exquisite Sephardi Torah tradition amongst the Sephardi public in Israel, many of whom had strayed from Torah. The "El Hama'ayan" organization -- the Shas youth educational movement - was engaged in round-the-clock outreach and spread of Torah and emuna, bringing tens of thousands of children and their parents back to their roots. Rav Ovadia himself went all across the counrty spreading Torah to the man on the street. This was all he cared about - what we in Breslev call hafatza, the dissemination far and wide of Torah and emuna. By the way, Rav Ovadia zatza"l loved my teacher Rav Shalom Arush so much because Rav Shalom's life is dedicated to the same thing.
Shas's wide electoral base was not only the Sephardi Torah-observant community, but the thousands of traditional parents whose children were strengthened and educated by "El Hama'ayan"; these folks felt a personal obligation of gratitude toward Rav Ovadia and Shas, and therefore voted for Shas.
Shas also had a radio station, Kol HaEmet, which was dedicated to Rav Ovadia's goals. As a frequent guest speaker on Kol HaEmet and as the pupil and English translator of Rav Shalom, I was fortunate to have personal access to Rav Ovadia, who was delighted that we were spreading emuna all over the world. From my converstaions with the Rav osb"m, all he cared about was that people should come back to their Torah roots and to get closer to Hashem. Nothing else interested him.
Without going into political detail, Shas as everyone knows, has unfortunately split in recent weeks. People say that the reason is both animosity between and opposing politic outlooks of its two leaders, Arie Deri and Eli Yishai. That's not at all the underlying spiritual reason. Shas has become a political shell, devoid of Rav Ovadia's outreach light. Neither Deri nor Yishai has been fulfilling the Rav's legacy. So according to Kabbala, when a vessel is emptied of its light, it soon crumbles. Shas without Torah and emuna outreach, simply as a political party to represent Sephardi Jews, has no future or even spiritual right to exist.
The only way to revive Shas is to revive Torah and emuna outreach immediately, on a massive scale. That's what Rav Ovadia wanted, and that's his legacy. It's our job to make sure that every single Jewish child knows how to say Kriat Shema. May Hashem unify not only our Sephardi brothers, but all of Israel, soon, amen!