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‘Aryeh Deri demands sole leadership of Shas’

Politician reportedly threatens to resign from Knesset and run for Jerusalem mayor if party’s triumvirate of leaders not dissolved

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Aryeh Deri in the Knesset (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Aryeh Deri in the Knesset (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

MK Aryeh Deri, who entered the Knesset as number two in Shas and part of its leadership triumvirate, has reportedly threatened to leave the ultra-Orthodox party and run for the position of Jerusalem mayor if he isn’t named its sole leader.

Deri’s ultimatum, Maariv reported Thursday, was prompted by Shas’s failure to gain more seats in the Knesset and its apparent move from government to the opposition, failures he claimed were a result of the party’s three-headed governance.

Outgoing ministers Eli Yishai and Ariel Atias led the faction in the recent campaign along with Deri.

“It’s impossible, and it never was possible, to function this way,” Deri was quoted as saying in closed talks.

“Each of us trips up the other, because that’s how the system works,” Deri reportedly said. “There’s no authority, no hierarchy, no ability to make decisions. Such a situation has no precedent anywhere in the world, not in any political body, nor in a factory or newspaper.”

If he isn’t named sole party leader, Deri — a veteran politician who recently made a political comeback after serving out a jail sentence for embezzlement — reportedly said, he would pursue a new goal: to win the municipal election in Jerusalem.

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