Aryeh Deri
Aryeh DeriYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The Knesset approved by a majority of 54 to 43 on Monday night the appointment of Shas chairman Aryeh Deri as Interior Minister. 

A fiery debate preceded the vote, in which Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid attacked Deri for returning to the same role he abused 22 years ago leading him to be jailed for corruption in 1999. 

"A person convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude cannot be appointed a customs agent, a firefighter, a director of a government company, or a member of the board of a public library - but to be a minister is no problem," Lapid charged. 

Lapid insisted he was not targeting Deri for personal reasons. "I would've made the same speech if the appointment now were for (Ehud) Olmert, or (Avraham) Hirschson or (Moshe) Katzav. They're also not allowed to return to their offices after being convicted of shameful offenses."

According to Lapid, the reason the appointment is technically legal is because Israel's founders could never have imagined such a situation taking place. 

The former minister insisted his party would continue to advocate for a law barring convicts from being appointed minister. "A person convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude should not be minister," he thundered. 

MK Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) defended the Deri appointment, accusing Lapid of being out of touch with the public's will. 

"An investigation was conducted for 14 years against MK (Avigdor) Liberman and in the end he was cleared of any wrongdoing - the public is saying it believes that Deri was innocent in the first place."