As expected, Aryeh Deri announced his return as chairperson of the Shas party on Monday, just two weeks after stepping down following damaging recordings that showed Shas spiritual founder Rabbi Ovadia Yosef zt''l strongly opposed him.
Deri called Shas MKs to a meeting at the party's Jerusalem headquarters on Monday, where he said "I submissively and with a bowed head accept the order of the (Shas) Council of Torah Sages headed by council president Maran Rabbi Shalom Cohen."
"All my life I was educated and I educated in the spirit of the command 'you shall observe to do according to all that they shall teach you' (Deuteronomy 17:10), and therefore after a period that wasn't easy in which I carried out a personal and familial self-accounting and weighed all the considerations, I decided that the Shas movement, the movement of Maran (Rabbi Yosef - ed.) for hundreds of thousands of voters, is more important than any consideration," said Deri.
He continued "with a raised head, with pride and firmness, I will continue to lead the movement so as to continue the great enterprises of Maran."
It is generally agreed that Deri's decision to step down in the first place was a measured political ploy to gain vocal backing and return to the movement's leadership, after recordings revealed that Rabbi Yosef was against Deri.
In the recordings Rabbi Yosef is seen in private meetings condemning Deri for corruption that had him jailed in 1999, explaining he didn't want to reappoint him as head of Shas - and even going as far as to refer to him as "evil."
Another recording revealed that Deri, and not Rabbi Yosef was responsible for Shas's shift to the left and support for the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Yet the ploy to rally Shas support and remove attention from the recordings apparently went as planned, after Rabbi Cohen ordered him to return, in a letter sent Sunday night. The Shas Council of Torah Sages also told Deri not to quit when he initially did so, but evidently their orders weren't as binding for him at the time.