With Israel Police recommending a criminal indictment against Shas chairman Minister Aryeh Deri, it is likely the State Prosecutor’s Office will move ahead with an indictment against him for alleged tax evasion and other white-collar crimes. It was recently reported that Deri did not report a NIS 8 million real estate deal,thereby failing to pay about NIS 2 million in taxes.
Facing the reality of a likelihood of an indictment, party officials must prepare for such an eventuality and select someone to move in to take Deri’s place until such time Deri is acquitted or convicted.
According to a Walla News report, efforts are underway to bring Ariel Atias back to the party, and if these efforts are successful, he will serve as a cabinet minister.
Atias was a minister for Shas in the past; as he was one of the three leaders during the tenure of Deri and Eli Yishai as joint leaders. The report states that with the recent petira of Minister of Religious Affairs David Azoulai, Deri has been serving as acting minister in his place. Deri is also Minister of the Interior and Minister of Galil & Negev Development. The Walla report states that if Deri is compelled to step down, and he is not a Member of Knesset, having resigned under the Norwegian Law, Atias would return and serve as a Minister-Without-Portfolio.
Deri resigned from Knesset in October 2016 to permit Michael Malchieli to take his seat. He remained a cabinet minister however.
It is emphasized this entire process is being arranged with Deri’s approval and cooperation.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)