Aryeh Deri returning as Israel’s interior chief 2 decades after resignation

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Shas party chairman Aryeh Deri was approved to serve as Israel’s interior minister more than two decades after resigning from the same position over corruption charges.

On Sunday, the Cabinet unanimously backed Deri’s appointment to succeed Silvan Shalom, who resigned from the post and the Knesset last month in the wake of sexual misconduct accusations. Deri stepped down several months ago as economy minister.

He quit the interior post in 1993 after being indicted and was sentenced in 2000 to three years in prison; Deri spent nearly two years in jail. Under his conviction for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, Deri was barred from public service in the political arena for seven years. He was reinstated as Shas party chairman in 2013.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ruled last week that there was no legal reason barring Deri from taking the position.

Deri resigned as economy minister after refusing to sign an anti-trust document that would allow the government’s natural gas deal with a consortium of companies to go through. The deal ultimately was approved.

Shas is part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government coalition.

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