Senior sources in Shas said Sunday that Rav Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of Sephardic haredi party Shas, has offered the number three slot in the party's list to Aryeh Deri, onetime party leader. The party's current chairman, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, would remain in the number one slot, followed by Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Atias.
However, according to Channel 2 television, which reported about the offer – Deri has rejected the arrangement because he wants to be the party chairman.
Sources in Shas warned that if Deri chooses to run in an independent party, Rav Ovadia will mount a direct attack on him. However, sources close to Deri insisted that he intends to run for the next elections at the head of a party – either Shas or an independent party.
The sources close to Deri explained that in a time of conflict between haredim and secular people, Deri could found a party that could be a bridge between all sectors.
Deri was forced out of politics after being convicted and serving jail time for corruption and accepting bribes. He is now believed to be en route to a political comeback.