Eli Yishai
Eli YishaiHadas Parush/Flash 90

Former Shas chief Eli Yishai slammed Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) on Tuesday for strengthening Israel's Arab opponents and lying to late Chief Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

"I know him well, and a lot of things are not new to me, but the strength of his hatred crosses every boundary. And this at a time when he should be taking care of all of Israel, and not working to unite the Arabs and make them stronger," Yishai told Israel Radio.

"He doesn't care if the Arabs grow stronger and the Knesset turns more towards the left. He really doesn't care about what is good. He sanctifies hatred."

Regarding the proposal to lower number of seats required to enter the Knesset, Yishai said that "hopefully we won't need it. He will be the one who needs it."

Yishai was part of Deri's Shas party for 19 years. He left Shas to found his own party, Yahad, in December 2014. Yahad did not succeed in entering the Knesset, falling just short of the required 3.25% to pass the minimum threshold.

Yishai also said Deri had lied "not just once" to the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, "about the Oslo [Accords], whether or not he would join the coalition...there are a lot of examples."

Deri, he said, is a dictator. "This is the reality," Yishai said. "It's sad and it's hard to accept, but yes, this is the reality."

Deri was convicted in 1999 of bribery and fraud for crimes committed while serving as Interior Minister more than two decades ago, served 22 months in prison and was released in 2002. He returned to the Knesset in 2013 and led the Shas party in the 2015 elections. He and his wife Yaffa are likely to be indicted for tax offenses as part of a long-running investigation against them.