Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Shas leader Aryeh Deri, who on Sunday resigned from his position as Economy Minister to become Israel’s first ever Periphery Minister, may soon be appointed Welfare Minister, Channel 2 News reported Sunday evening.

According to the report, current Welfare Minister Haim Katz (Likud) will receive an offer to give up the ministry in favor of Deri, and Katz in return will be appointed Economy Minister.

The report added that Katz is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday, when he will formally accept the offer. As part of the proposal, Katz will receive an “upgraded” Economy ministerial portfolio.

Deri would continue in his new role as Periphery Minister - that is, the Minister for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee with expanded responsibilities over poor neighborhoods and an increased budget.

Deri formally announced his resignation as Economy Minister on Sunday, paving the way for the government to greenlight a multibillion dollar gas deal with American energy giant Noble Energy.

A major deal to exploit offshore gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has been stuck for almost a year due to the objection of the country's anti-trust authority, which warned the agreement could give Noble and its Israeli partner Delek an effective monopoly.

It was also held up by Deri's refusal to overrule the authority, prompting the haredi politician to announce last Saturday his plans to leave his position as Economy Minister. 

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