Originally a small ethnic political group, Shas is currently[when?] Israel's fourth-largest party in the Knesset. Since 1984, it has almost always formed a part of the governing coalition, whether the ruling party was Labor or Likud. As of 2019, Shas members sit with Likud in the government.
The party's name is an acronym for Shomeri Torah Sfaradim (שׁוֹמְרִי תּוֹרָה סְפָרַדִּים), or "Torah-Observant Sephardim". It is also a reference to the six orders of the Mishnah and the Talmud. Both works are often simply called Shas in Haredi circles.