Deri re­turns to scene of crime, 22 years later

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY ANSHEL PFEFFER

TWENTY-TWO years af­ter an in­dict­ment forced him to leave the In­te­rior Min­istry, Aryeh Deri, the first Is­raeli min­is­ter to serve time for bribe-tak­ing, was reap­pointed In­te­rior Min­is­ter on Sun­day.

The leader of Shas was poised to re­turn to the pow­er­ful min­istry last year when Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu formed his new govern­ment — but, at the last minute, took the Eco­nom­ics Min­istry in­stead.

He re­signed from the post two months ago fol­low­ing dif­fer­ences with Mr Ne­tanyahu over regulation of the nat­u­ral gas in­dus­try. Last month, in the wake of the sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions which forced then-in­te­rior min­is­ter Sil­van Shalom to re­sign, h e a c c e p t e d the prime

Aryeh Deri min­is­ter’s of­fer. State Pros­e­cu­tor Shai Nitzan is un­der­stood to have said that in light of Deri’s crim­i­nal record, he should be dis­qual­i­fied from serv­ing in the post.

How­ever, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ye­huda We­in­stein ruled that suf­fi­cient time had elapsed since Mr Deri’s con­vic­tion and in­car­cer­a­tion, and that there were no le­gal prob­lems aris­ing from the de­ci­sion.

The In­te­rior Min­istry wields con­sid­er­able power over Is­rael’s lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and is in charge of im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy.

Mr Deri is ex­pected to con­cen­trate on the is­sues of mu­nic­i­pal bor­der changes, which can dras­ti­cally change the for­tunes of poor lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, par­tic­u­larly those in the Arab sec­tor.

He will also have to im­ple­ment govern­ment pol­icy with re­gard to asy­lum-seek­ers and the fu­ture of the Ethiopian Falash­mura.


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