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      Deri: Shas Joining Left is a 'Bad Joke'

      Aryeh Deri dismisses as "a bad joke" reports that his party is in talks with the left to create an obstructive bloc to the Likud.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 1/8/2013, 4:12 AM

      Aryeh Deri
      Aryeh Deri
      Flash 90

      Aryeh Deri, one of the heads of the Shas party, dismissed on Monday evening as "a bad joke" reports that his party was in talks with the left to create an obstructive bloc to the Likud.

      In a status he posted to his Facebook page, Deri mocked the report, which appeared in the Yisrael Hayom daily, which is highly supportive of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

      "I could not help but read senior Likud officials suggesting in their home newspaper that Shas is negotiating with the left and is considering joining it," wrote Deri.

      "They just forgot to tell you that I also attended a meeting with Shelly (Yechimovich), Tzipi (Livni) and (Yair) Lapid," he added sarcastically. "Come on, this is a bad joke. Netanyahu has nothing to fear, we will recommend him for the premiership."

      Earlier on Monday, Netanyahu said that left wing and hareidi parties are plotting to bring about his downfall, and that only a strong Likud Beytenu could prevent this from happening.

      "I know that there are even contacts and attempts to coordinate moves between some of the leftist parties and the hareidi parties," Netanyahu said.

      "The administration of the national camp must not be endangered," he added. "This would lead to more backsliding, to the division of Jerusalem, and cause damage to the vital interests and security interests of the citizens of Israel."

      MK Michael Ben-Ari (Otzma Leyisrael) has also warned potential voters that Deri could help the left wing form the next government.

      Shas and the Likud have been at odds, with both Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu openly attacking Shas.

      At the opening of the Likud's campaign, Netanyahu said the Housing Ministry “will no longer be controlled by 'sectorial interests.'"

      He added, "The Ministry is not providing equitable service right now, and this cannot continue. In the same way that we reduced the prices on cellphone service, we will reduce the cost of housing.”

      Lieberman later said in an interview that Shas would receive the Infrastructures and Tourism portfolios in the next government.

      Lieberman appeared to relish in provoking Shas, saying that Infrastructures and Tourism were "very nice" portfolios, and that as Tourism Minister, Shas's Ariel Atias "will be able to travel all over the world."

      Deri later responded to Lieberman's remarks by saying that "Yisrael Beytenu has carried out a hostile takeover of Likud. From the party of the people, Likud has become an arrogant, smug party that represents Russians and whites."