Shas leadership decision postponed until after elections

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Shas delayed making a decision on the party chairmanship until after the Israeli national elections.

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On Wednesday, the Sephardi haredi Orthodox party said that current chair Eli Yishai and Aryeh Deri, who resigned as party chief 13 years ago, would serve as co-leaders, with the decision of the party chair delayed until after the Jan. 22 elections.

A day earlier, the Israeli media had reported that Deri was reinstated by Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in place of Yishai, Israel’s interior minister, who has served in the top party position for more than a decade. Deri was indicted in 1993 for accepting bribes and sentenced in 2000 to three years in prison. Under the conviction, Deri was barred from public service in the political arena for seven years.

Deri, who decided to reenter politics a few weeks ago, had threatened to launch his own party if he were not permitted to retake the Shas chairmanship.

Yosef said at the time of the conviction that the party’s leadership would be given to Yishai until Deri’s return.

On Wednesday, Yishai said the party would do whatever Yosef instructs.

 

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