Weeping Aryeh Deri eulogizes his brother: ‘The head of our family is gone’

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

Shas chief Aryeh Deri attends the funeral of his brother, Yehuda Deri, in Jerusalem on July 9, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Shas chief Aryeh Deri attends the funeral of his brother, Yehuda Deri, in Jerusalem on July 9, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Weeping uncontrollably, Shas leader Aryeh Deri delivers a deeply personal eulogy at the funeral of his older brother Yehuda, the chief rabbi of Beersheba, who died earlier today at 66.

Normally an eloquent and composed speaker, Aryeh Deri breaks down repeatedly during his eulogy at the Sanhedria cemetery in Jerusalem. He punctuates his sentences with yelps that resemble reactions to physical pain, prompting waves of weeping in the crowd.

“We were together all the way for all those dozens of years, how did you leave and at such a difficult period for people of Israel,” Deri weeps.

He beseeches his late brother to pray for Israel’s sake. “Don’t let them forget us,” he says of other sages, including the late Shas founder Ovadia Yosef, whom Aryeh Deri imagines greeting Yehuda in the afterlife. “We have deep divisions in the people of Israel, we have hostages, we have casualties, also today, God have mercy. Look at us, two young boys from Bat Yam, look what a revolution, look what we have done,” he cries out.

“I’m sorry, forgive me brother, that I wasn’t with you in those last moment, please forgive me, please I beg you forgiveness,” he weeps. Deri extolls his late brother’s “seriousness in everything he did” and his “ability to reach out to people who disagreed with him.” With Yehuda gone, “we have no compass, the head of our family is gone,” Deri says.

The Shas leader composes himself and tells the crowd he could “go on for hours, but the hour is late, there will be other times.” He thanks the physicians of Hadassah Ein Karem hospital where Yehuda died: “They tried everything with endless devotion, but it was decreed by G-d,” he says, as he almost stumbles off the stage weeping.

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