Aryeh Makhlouf Deri (Hebrew: אַרְיֵה מַכְלוּף דֶּרְעִי; Arabic: أريه مخلوف درعي), also Arie Deri, Arye Deri, or Arieh Deri (born 17 February 1959), is an Israeli politician and one of the founders of the Shas political party who served as the Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Health, and Minister of the Interior and Periphery under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from 2022 to 2023. Previously he served as the Minister of the Interior, Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee, Minister of the Economy, as well as a member in the Security Cabinet of Israel.
|1988–1992||Minister of Internal Affairs|
|1993||Minister without Portfolio|
|1993||Minister of Internal Affairs|
|2015||Minister of the Economy|
|2015–2021||Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee|
|2016–2021||Minister of Interior|
|2018||Minister of Religious Services|
|2022–2023||Minister of the Interior|
|2022–2023||Minister of Health|
|2022–2023||Vice Prime Minister|
|Faction represented in the Knesset|
|Born||17 February 1959|
In 1999, Deri was convicted of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust; he was given a three-year jail sentence. At the end of 2012, ahead of the elections for the nineteenth Knesset, he returned to lead the Shas party. He was placed in second position on the list, thus being re-elected to the Knesset. In May 2013, he was re-appointed to the role of Shas chairman. In December 2021, it was reported that Deri would resign from the Knesset as part of a plea deal for tax offenses. After re-entering the Knesset in the 2022 elections, he briefly secured posts as both Interior Minister and Health Minister in the thirty-seventh government. Deri was also set to serve as Deputy Prime Minister for the administration. However, due to a January 2023 ruling by the Supreme Court of Israel that Deri was not eligible for a ministerial position due to his criminal convictions and the terms of his plea deal, he was dismissed from his official posts in the Israeli cabinet.
Aryeh Mahlouf Deri was born in Meknes, Morocco, to Esther (née Azougi) and Eliyahu Deri. His parents lived in one of the new wealthy districts of the city, and were influenced by French culture. His father owned a successful tailoring business, and his family were traditional Jews, but not Orthodox. At the age of 5, Deri was enrolled at Ozar Hatorah, a school that combined secular and Orthodox Jewish religious education. In 1968, at the age of 9, his family made Aliyah and settled in Bat Yam. Deri attended a religious boarding school in Hadera. In 1973, he began to study at Porat Yosef, a leading Sephardic yeshiva in Jerusalem. In May 1976, he transferred to Hebron Yeshiva, where he received his rabbinical ordination.
After completing his yeshiva studies, Deri was appointed secretary of the Haredi settlement of Ma'ale Amos, and joined the Gush Etzion Regional Council. In 1983, he was appointed administrative manager of Lev Banim Yeshiva.
Establishment of ShasEdit
In 1984, he founded and began to serve as a secretary to Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah of Shas. During 1985, he served as an assistant to Interior Minister, Yitzhak Peretz, and at the end of the same year he was appointed to the role of the Secretary General of Shas. In June 1986, he enlisted to a shortened time of 3 months in the Israel Defense Forces.
Upon completing his military service at the age of 27, and after the elections for the 12th Knesset, he was appointed interior minister in the government of Yitzhak Shamir. Deri was sworn in on 22 December 1988. At 29, he was the youngest government minister in Israel's history.
As interior minister, he abolished the censorship of plays in theaters.
When the Israeli Labor Party sought to break away from the government and create a narrow coalition, Deri and Haim Ramon, a Knesset member from the Labor Party, initiated negotiations to create a Labor-Haredi alignment. A motion of no confidence was submitted on 15 March 1990, but five Knesset members on behalf of Shas party were absent from the vote. This agreement was later nicknamed "The dirty trick". Two rabbis, Menachem Mendel Schneerson and Elazar Shach, strongly opposed cooperating with the political left. As a result, the deal fell through, and the Labor Party chairman, Shimon Peres, failed to form a coalition. At the end, Yitzhak Shamir, Likud chairman, established a government of Likud–Right–Haredis, where Deri continued to serve as Interior Minister.
After the Labor Party, led by Yitzhak Rabin, won the elections in 1992, the Shas party joined the coalition, and Deri continued to serve as Interior Minister, and, for the first time, as a Knesset member. He remained Minister of the Interior until May 1993, when he became a Minister without Portfolio, before returning to the Interior Ministry in June. He left the cabinet in September 1993. He was re-elected to the Knesset in 1996.
Deri was convicted of taking $155,000 in bribes while serving as the interior minister, and was given a three-year jail sentence in 2000. He was replaced by Eli Yishai. Due to good behavior, Deri was released from Maasiyahu Prison in 2002, after serving 22 months.
Return to public lifeEdit
In June 2011, he announced that he was planning to return to politics. He was re-elected to the Knesset in 2013. However, on 28 December 2014, Channel 2 released video footage in which Ovadia Yosef, the founder of Shas, attacked Deri, calling him a wicked man and a thief. The same day, Deri handed a resignation letter to the rabbinical board of Shas, who refused to accept it. On the following day, Deri presented his resignation to the Knesset speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, with his seat taken by Lior Edri.
Despite his resignation from the Knesset, Deri headed the Shas list for the March 2015 election, and was subsequently appointed Ministry of the Economy and Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee in the new government. He left his post as Minister of the Economy on 3 November 2015, reportedly over an unpopular gas monopoly deal, and was replaced by Netanyahu, who promised to speed up the deal. He was appointed Minister of the Interior on 11 January 2016. He resigned from the Knesset in October 2016 to allow Michael Malchieli to take his seat, whilst remaining a minister. He temporarily served as Minister of Religious Services in 2018 after the death of David Azulai.
On 17 April 2020, a senior Likud Minister, speaking unattributably, told Al-Monitor that Deri was mediating the political coalition talks between Netanyahu and leader of the opposition Blue and White alliance Benny Gantz. It was also reported Deri "might even be open to a new alliance with Blue and White — now that its anti-clerical component, Yair Lapid, quit the party and went his own way", and would only commit to remaining with Netanyahu's coalition until the next election.
Subsequent criminal conviction and resignationEdit
On 20 November 2018, Israeli police ended a criminal investigation into Deri with a recommendation to state prosecutors that he be indicted for "committing fraud, breach of trust, obstructing court proceedings, money laundering, and tax offenses." In 2019, this recommendation was adopted in full by the state prosecutor, Shai Nitzan, but in 2021 the attorney general of Israel, Avichai Mandelblit, dropped all the charges except the tax offenses. Deri continued to serve as Interior Minister, and after losing the ministry with the formation of the thirty-sixth government of Israel, as an MK and chair of the Shas party.
On 23 January 2022, he resigned from the Knesset as part of a plea bargain. Deri admitted to underreporting the value of property sold to his brother to avoid land tax, failure to report income from the sales and evading tax on NIS 534,000 of income, by funneling payments from Green Ocean investment fund to his brother. Deri received a year's suspended sentence, and was also ordered to pay a NIS 180,000 fine. Because of his resignation, no decision was made on whether the offenses carried the designation of "moral turpitude" which would again bar him from running for office for 7 years. As part of the plea deal, no determination was made as to whether Deri's crimes carried "moral turpitude", which would have barred him from seeking election to the Knesset within 7 years of the plea agreement.
Return to the KnessetEdit
On 2 February 2022, Deri gave a speech in which he accused his prosecution of being motivated by his Moroccan heritage, and expressed his intent to remain as leader of Shas. Deri led the party through the 2022 election, and returned to the Knesset after it won eleven seats. Deri became Minister of Interior, Minister of Health and Vice Prime Minister in the thirty-seventh government of Israel on 29 December 2022.
On 18 January 2023, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that Deri was not allowed to hold a position as a cabinet minister due to his conviction for tax offenses. As a result, Deri was consensually dismissed from the cabinet on 22 January; his dismissal went into effect on 24 January. In his place, Deri chose Michael Malchieli as the acting Minister of Interior and Yoav Ben-Tzur as the acting Minister of Health.
Deri married Yaffa Cohen in 1981. They have nine children. He lives in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem.
In addition to Hebrew, Deri is fluent in Moroccan Arabic and French. His older brother, Yehuda Deri, is the Chief Rabbi and Av Beit Din of the city of Be'er Sheva. He is also a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council. Another brother of Deri, Shlomo, is a lawyer.
- ^ a b Dayan, Aryeh (1999). The Story of Shas.
- ^ "Shas chair Deri to resign from Knesset in plea deal that lets him stay in politics — report." The Times of Israel, 20 December 2021.
- ^ a b Kershner, Isabel (18 January 2023). "Israel's Supreme Court Orders Removal of a Netanyahu Minister". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
- ^ Kershner, Isabel (22 January 2023). "Netanyahu Fires Top Minister". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
- ^ Dayan, Aryeh (1997). The Story of Shas. p. 66.
For many years, Deri was known as "Aryeh Deri", and he signed with this name in the Book of Laws when he became the Minister of Interior, even that in the candidates list to the Knesset his name written as "Aryeh Makhlouf Deri". During the elections for the 20th Knesset, he placed a lot of emphasis on sectarianism, and began to be presented in his full name, "Aryeh Makhlouf Deri".
- ^ "Top Israeli politician goes to jail". BBC News. 3 September 2000.
- ^ יודילוביץ', מרב (27 May 2009). "תבוטל הצנזורה על סרטים". Ynet (in Hebrew). Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- ^ Sontag, Deborah (4 September 2000). "In a Divided Israel, Thousands Rally for the Ex-Shas Party Leader as He Goes to Jail". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- ^ Kessel, Jerrold (3 September 2000). "Israeli political leader goes to jail after emotional send-off". CNN. Archived from the original on 27 March 2005. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- ^ "Former Shas leader to leave prison". BBC News. 11 July 2002. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- ^ "Former Shas leader announces intent to return to politics". Ha'aretz English. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- ^ Ettinger, Yair (29 December 2014). "After split with Shas, Yishai releases 'doomsday weapon' tape on Deri". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- ^ Interior Minister Shal Leader Deri Resigns From Knesset Yeshiva World, 31 October 2016
- ^ Twentieth Knesset: Government 34 Knesset
- ^ a b Mualem, Mazal (17 April 2020). "Netanyahu's right-wing bloc starts cracking". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
- ^ "Police recommend indicting Interior Minister Deri for fraud, breach of trust". The Times of Israel. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- ^ "Aryeh Deri faces indictment for tax offenses". Globes. 10 January 2021. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
- ^ Jeremy Bob, Yonah (25 January 2022). "Shas head Arye Deri admits to, and is convicted of, tax crimes". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
- ^ "No longer an MK, Deri convicted of tax offenses in plea bargain". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
- ^ "שנת מאסר על תנאי: ביהמ"ש השלום קיבל את הסדר הטיעון בעניין דרעי". maariv.co.il (in Hebrew). 1 February 2022. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
- ^ a b Azulay, Moran (23 January 2022). "Shas leader Aryeh Deri submits his resignation from Knesset". Ynet. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
- ^ "Rabbi Deri Vows to Remain Shas Chairman to Continue Fighting Government". Hamodia. 2 February 2022. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
- ^ "Israel: Aryeh Deri claims 'racism' over corruption trial". i24news. 2 February 2022. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
- ^ "בג"ץ רומס את בחירת הרוב ואינו מכבד את החלטת הכנסת". Mida (in Hebrew). 18 January 2023. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
- ^ "Likud inks deal with Shas, finishes doling out government posts to coalition allies" The Times of Israel.
- ^ "חמישה ימים אחרי פסיקת בג"ץ: נתניהו פיטר את דרעי". N12. 22 January 2023. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
- ^ Noa Shpigel (24 January 2023). "Shas Lawmakers to Serve as Acting Health and Interior Ministers". Haaretz. Retrieved 24 January 2023.
- ^ מחיר השלום [The Price of Peace]. Mishpacha (in Hebrew). No. 1354. 26 April 2018. p. 4.
- ^ "חבר הכנסת אריה מכלוף דרעי" [Knesset member Aryeh Makhlouf Deri] (in Hebrew). Knesset. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
- Aryeh Deri on the Knesset website