Aryeh Deri was the high-flying head of the Sefardi haredi Shas party until he was convicted in 1999 of taking $155,000 in bribes when he was Israel’s Interior Minister and served 22 months in prison. And now he leads Shas again.
Deri Redeemed His Deposit To Become Shas Party Chairman, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Says
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Aryeh Deri was the high-flying head of the Sefardi haredi Shas party until he was convicted in 1999 of taking $155,000 in bribes when he was Israel’s Interior Minister and served 22 months in prison.
He returned to Shas last year in the hope of winning back the party’s chairmanship. Instead, he ended up as one of three co-chairmen along with Eli Yishai and Ariel Atias – himself the subject of a scathing report by Israel’s state comptroller that showed that Atias had illegally diverted millions of dollars in government housing subsidies earmarked for the working poor to haredi yeshiva students.
When Shas adopted three-pronged leadership, its founder and spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef reportedly called it a “triple bond that won’t be severed soon.”
Well, it’s severed now.
The Times of Israel reports that Yosef told the audience at his weekly Saturday night public lecture that he had promised Deri that he would return him to his chairmanship once he got out of prison.
“It was a deposit that he held, and now he can redeem it,” Yosef said, explaining why three days ago Yosef ordered Atias and Yishai to step down and elevated Deri to sole chairmanship.
Yishai, who served as the party’s chairman for 12 years after Deri was convicted, now heads the party’s network of schools and yeshivas. Atias has been made chairman of the Shas Knesset faction.
Both now report to Deri.