Eli Yishai: Deri belongs in Shas

Minister of Interior says he is sure former Shas political leader will not disobey Rav Ovadia.

Gil Ronen,

Former Minister Aryeh Deri
Former Minister Aryeh Deri
Flash 90


The chairman of Shas and Minister of Interior, Eli Yishai, made a rare reference Sunday to the expected return of former Shas boss Aryeh Deri to politics.

"It is clear to me that he will not do anything against the will of Rav Ovadia Yosef," he said in an interview on Kol Berama radio. "The Shas movement is strong and unified," he said. "It has many accomplishments that were not there in the past and all of that was done under the leadership of the Rabbi [Rav Ovadia, ed.]."

"This is our strength and power. It is the will of the Torah and we will act according to it," he added.

"Deri belongs in Shas. It is his home. Everyone is subservient to the will of the Torah."

Deri was a superstar on the Israeli political scene as Shas's party leader in the late 1980's and in the 1990's. He served as Israel's youngest ever minister, was implicated in a corruption scandal, and served a two-year jail sentence in 2000-2002.

In the past few months Deri has said that he intends to return to politics, but it was not clear if he intended to return by taking over Shas, or by competing with it. Different theories have been put forward: that he aims to replace Yishai, that he intends to join Yair Lapid's party or that he will form a new religious-secular party.