Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Shas "will not sit in a narrow left government," Chairman Aryeh Deri pledged Saturday night during an interview on Channel Ten's Central Headquarters.

More specifically, Deri explained, Shas refuses to be part of a coalition with Yair Lapid and the members of the Joint Arab List. 

Addressing Lapid's attacks on his past criminal convictions, Deri accused the Yesh Atid head of arrogance. "He wants to rehabilitate me? Who is he? It's inappropriate for the rehabilitated and the rehabilitator to sit together," Deri charged. 

Although he has not ruled out Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog as a candidate for prime minister, Deri noted that Shas prefers to recommend current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the job. 

"Shas and the Likud are one public, even if in the past few years Netanyahu preferred to be father and son to the Lapid family," Deri explained, not without some bitter sarcasm. 

Relations between Netanyahu and Deri seem to be warming though, with Deri noting that the Prime Minister called to thank Deri for his support upon Netanyahu's return from the United States last week. 

Deri told the Prime Minister that the Shas public wanted him as a leader, and asked him not to overlook that public. 

While Deri was quite critical of Netanyahu during the 19th Knesset and previously sat in the left-wing coalition of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Deri said his political opponents are actually on the Left and that he is ready to sit again with Netanyahu "to provide an alternative."

The Shas Chairman did note, however, that he is worried about former Shas leader Eli Yishai, who splintered from the movement to form the new party Yachad Ha'am Itanu. 

Deri fears Yishai will cost Shas thousands of votes on March 17, ensuring the loss of desired mandates.