Miracle Campaign

Once Barak's partner, the Shas Party is tapping into mysticism to give its politics more potency

Gathered around the floodlit enclosure at midnight, they sing that he will make peace: ya'ase shalom. The words refer to God, but as 300 worshippers thump tambourines and clap their hands in the warm night, they have someone else in mind. It is the rabbi. He shuffles through the crowd, small and bowed. They touch him for his blessing. He is a tzaddik, a holy man, a saint. "I will clean the people," he mutters. His arm winging like a metronome, Rabbi Yaakov Ifargan slings candles into a brazier until the flame rises 20 ft. and wax sizzles onto the dusty...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!