Yair Lapid (file)
Yair Lapid (file) Ben Kelmer/Flash90

Yesh Atid chairman and former Finance Minister Yair Lapid called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to appoint Shas chairman Aryeh Deri as a senior minister on Saturday, claiming Deri's previous jail term for corruption charges makes him incapable of being placed in charge of a government portfolio.

"Mr. Prime Minister, you won the big election," Lapid wrote on Facebook Saturday. "If that's what the majority chose, this is what was meant to be now, and all of us - the Opposition and the coalition - must go back to working for the State of Israel." 

"Hang on, however," he continued. "Are you happy with the idea that there will be appointed a senior minister (my understanding is the Interior Minister), an MK responsible for billions of shekels, a person convicted of fraud? (referring to Deri - ed.)." 

Lapid added that the judges who handled Deri's corruption case noted that he led a "lifestyle of bribes" over a five-year period and that the chairman had not been sent to jail over an isolated incident. Deri served a two-year jail term for corruption after a 1999 conviction; after heading Shas throughout the nineties, he was replaced by MK Eli Yishai, now head of Yachad-Ha'am Itanu. 

"Abandon such a person from maintaining the public purse, Prime Minister - this is all of our money," Lapid concluded. 

Deri responded on Saturday night, by referring to Lapid as "the biggest failure of a Finance Minister in Israel's history," and was incredulous that he "still dares to preach after he devastated thousands of families and brought them to starvation." 

Calling Lapid "amateurish," he added that "the people of Israel need new experiences with different leadership." Shas's platform for the 20th Knesset elections was based upon providing solutions to Israel's cost of living crisis. 

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