Aryeh Deri to return to Interior Ministry after 22 years

Cabinet approves appointment for Shas chairman, who resigned as interior minister in 1993 over corruption charges.

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Cynthia Blank,

Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri
Miriam Alsterl/Flash 90

Despite public criticism as well as a media firestorm, Israel's government approved on Sunday the appointment of Shas chairman Ayreh Deri as Interior Minister

He will replace veteran Likud minister Silvan Shalom who resigned from politics several weeks ago amid sexual harassment allegations.

Deri will take on the role of Interior Minister in addition to his current post as Minister of the Development of the Negev, Galilee and Periphery. 

Outrage over Deri's new appointment stems from his criminal misconduct while serving as Interior Minister in the early nineties.

Deri abused the position and was forced to resign in September 1993. His acceptance of bribes while in the post also led him to be jailed for corruption in 1999 for around two years, and to leave politics for a number of years.

He returned to politics in 2011, quickly regained power of the Shas party and was appointed a minister after elections in March 2015.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu faced criticism for appointing Deri to his cabinet and that criticism has only ratcheted up since Deri was tapped to re-assume duties as interior minister. 

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein found on Thursday that Deri's appointment to the role does not pose any legal difficulties, though it would seem inappropriate given his previous history. 

Following the government's approval of the appointment on Sunday, it will be brought for a vote before the Knesset later this week, possibly as soon as Monday.