Deri and Yishai reportedly to split Shas party leadership

Truce ends days of infighting between current and former party leaders

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Shas party titans Eli Yishai (right) and Aryeh Deri (left) on October 14. (photo credit: Oren Nahshon/Flash90)
Shas party titans Eli Yishai (right) and Aryeh Deri (left) on October 14. (photo credit: Oren Nahshon/Flash90)

The battle between the current head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, and a former leader come back to reclaim his seat after spending time in jail, seemed to be at an end Wednesday after the two came to an agreement.

According to the deal,  former chairman Aryeh Deri and current party leader Eli Yishai will split the party leadership.

Israeli media reported that Deri and Yishai agreed that neither one will be serve as party chairman, but that Yishai will take the first spot on the Shas party list.

Deri will control the budget of the party’s school system and kashrut certification authority, and Yishai will act as the senior Shas minister, Israel Radio reported.

Deri headed the party until being convicted of bribe-taking and being sent to jail in 2000. After years of speculation, he recently indicated he would seek to reclaim the leadership of Shas, a move Yishai opposed.

The party is de facto controlled by spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.  Yishai said earlier he would accept whatever decision Yosef makes regarding Shas party leadership.

Deri and Yishai will split the chairman responsibilities with current Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias. In the troika division of powers, Deri was expected to manage the coalition negotiations, the school system and municipal issues, and Yishai would attend to governmental and parliamentary matters.


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