Aryeh Deri returns to politics

By Sahar Zivan, October 15, 2012
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The former leader of Israel’s Shas party, Aryeh Deri, has announced that he will be returning to the political arena for the upcoming elections.

According to Ma’ariv, senior figures in Mr Deri’s former party, Shas, yesterday proposed a compromise whereby Mr Deri would return as number two in the party list and would hold the position of party chairman, whilst current party leader Eli Yishai would head the party list and receive the most senior ministerial portfolio in the next cabinet.

Mr Deri agreed to the compromise but after a heated argument at the Shas headquarters yesterday, Mr Yishai refused to accept the deal, leading a senior Shas member to state: “If at the start of the week Yishai held a substantial advantage over Deri in the race for the party leadership, yesterday the balance of power changed.”

When questioned by Ynet, Mr Deri stated that Mr Kachlon was “a lighthouse for the social issues in the Likud, I had hoped to lead with him the battle over social issues in the next Knesset”.

Mr Deri added: “Kachlon’s retirement strengthens my concerns that the Likud Party is holding on to its current national economic policies, which are harming those who are weakest and widens the social gap. My party will be in tune with the needs of the public and will do everything in its power to block the continued damage to the lower classes.”

Mr Deri was replaced by Eli Yishai as the head of Shas after he was convicted of accepting bribes in 2000 while serving as Interior Minister. He was given a three-year jail sentence, of which he served 22 months before being released on good behaviour.

Last updated: 11:10am, October 16 2012