Aryeh Deri returned to Shas in October 2012, having been forced in August 1999 to resign from the Knesset and his position as party chairman following his conviction for receiving a bribe, fraud and breach of trust – charges for which he served 22 months in prison.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on Thursday appointed Knesset member Aryeh Deri chairman of the Shas party.
Also Thursday, Yosef made MK Ariel Atias, who has headed Shas along with Deri and Eli Yishai since October, chairman of the party's 11-member Knesset faction, replacing MK Avraham Michaeli. Yishai, who led Shas on his own for 12 years prior to October, will be the chairman of the party's education network.
The appointments are expected to be formalized by Shas' Council of Torah Sages in the next few days, and possibly as early as Thursday evening.
Deri returned to Shas in October 2012, having been forced in August 1999 to resign from the Knesset and his position as party chairman following his conviction for receiving a bribe, fraud and breach of trust – charges for which he served 22 months in prison.…
Yosef's decision brings to an end the "Shas triumvirate" – the failed leadership model that was established as a Mapai-style compromise when Deri returned to the party in October.…Deri will be appointed chairman, and the other two won't be left out either – Atias will be chairman of the [Shas Knesset] faction, and Yishai chairman of party's education system.
Over the last few days, Deri and his supporters ramped up the pressure on Yosef and his son Moshe and daughter-in-law Yehudit, to come to a decision.…
While Yishai wasn't in any hurry, Deri had another consideration to take into account – during May the deadline for candidates to out themselves forward for the position of Jerusalem mayor expires. This was Deri's back-up plan if he was not to be appointed chairman.
The relationship between Deri and Yishai has deteriorated to such an extent that they barely talk…
Of course, Yosef really did not have much of a choice. According to the State Comptroller, who just issued a report on this, Atias allegedly ran the Housing Ministry as Shas' personal fiefdom, illegally directing millions of dollars in housing meant for israel's working poor to haredim.