Deri’s Back


deri-returnsFormer Shas leader Arye Deri will begin his political comeback tomorrow with a symbolic statement: He will mark the first day in seven years when he is legally permitted to engage in political activity by doing – nothing. Deri has decided not to draw attention to the end of his court sentence, which barred him from politics for seven years because the crime constituted “moral turpitude and disgrace.” He has not admitted guilt and does not intend to start now by marking tomorrow’s milestone.”When I look in the mirror, I see no shame,” Deri recently told a close follower. “I see an innocent man.”

But Deri has hinted to confidants that he will soon form a new socioeconomic movement that will work to bridge gaps between rich and poor and among Jews of all levels of religious observance. He will announce the movement’s formation after the Three Weeks, and perhaps only after the Yomim Tovim which end October 10.

In a recent meeting with a group of fervent supporters, Deri pleaded for patience. He said he was definitely returning to politics and that he had a plan, but would not announce it until the time was ripe.

The movement will not be presented as political, at least not at first.

Deri’s closest aides said he intends to show respect toward Rav Ovadiah Yosef, continuing his political comeback gradually. They said he has not made up his mind about whether to turn his new movement into a political party or to try to unseat Eli Yishai ahead of the next election and return to the leadership of the Shas party he led to a record 17 mandates in the 1999 election.

Deri, 50, started his political career as director-general of the Interior Ministry at age 27. Two years later he was elected to the Knesset at the top of the Shas list and became interior minister.

deriHe was convicted in March 1999 and started serving his three-year sentence in September 2000. He served less than two years due to good behavior and was released July 15, 2002.

The Movement for Quality Government petitioned Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz today, asking him to bar Deri from entering politics for another year until seven years after Deri’s sentence was completed.

Deri’s supporters expressed outrage that after waiting so long for his return yet another legal obstacle could prevent his comeback.

“There has been a holy war of the establishment against Arye Deri and it’s not over yet,” a close Deri supporter said. “But they can’t tell the public what to think, and they won’t be able to prevent him from going all the way to the top.”

{Yair Israel/JPost}


  1. Here comes the Pacifist Deri, except he may find out that seven years later he can NOT find a kehilla within the shomer shabbos world of pacifists.