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Deri Apologizes, then Does It Again

Shas co-leader retracted anti-"white" remarks, then said Likud won't appoint senior Sephardi ministers.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/31/2012, 9:34 AM

Rav Ovadia with Aryeh Deri
Rav Ovadia with Aryeh Deri
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Aryeh Deri, a member of Shas's triumvirate of political leaders, has accused Likud of planning a government without any Sephardim in senior positions.

In a Facebook message, Deri wrote that the list of Likud Beytenu candidates for senior cabinet portfolios – the Defense, Finance and Foreign Ministries, as well as Education and Justice – does not include a single Sephardi.

Deri added that similar discrimination takes place within academia, the economy and the legal system.

On Friday, Deri party apologized and issued a retraction, for remarking that Chairman Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beytenu party only represents "Russians and whites". Interviewed on Galei Yisrael radio, Deri explained that he spoke in the heat of the moment, based on a page of messages he was given, while noting that he returned to politics in order to take care of minority populations.

In making the apology, Deri said, "It's not my style. I've never spoken like that. They are my brothers."