Aryeh Mahlouf Deri (Hebrew: אריה דרעי, born 17 February 1959 in Meknes, Morocco) is an Israeli politician, and the leader of the SephardicIsraeli political party Shas. After early political success, including two cabinet postings before the age of 30, Deri was implicated in a corruption scandal at the start of the 21st century and served two years in prison. He was reinstated as leader of Israel's Shas Party on 16 October 2012 after a thirteen-year hiatus, and temporarily resigned on 29 December 2014.
Aryeh Deri (full name Aryeh Mahlouf Deri) was born in 1959 to a wealthy secular Jewish family in Meknes, Morocco, where he lived the first nine years of his life. After the Six Day War of 1967, conditions for Jews in Morocco worsened and Deri's parents decided to make aliyah (move to Israel) in 1968. During the transfer, the family's property was lost. In Israel, his mother sent him to a religious boarding school, in order to escape the poor conditions of the housing estate where they had been settled. Deri became involved in Israeli politics at a young age while studying in yeshiva, and early on aligned himself with the Mizrahi-Sephardi Shas party under the tutelage of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. With a fast rise in his popularity amongst the Israeli religious public, Deri was promoted to a high post on the Shas party election lists and was elected to the Knesset. He served as Minister without Portfolio at the age of 24, and as Interior Minister at 29.
After Deri was convicted of taking $155,000 in bribes while serving as Interior Minister and 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.
Despite the corruption scandal and legal troubles, he remains very popular with the religiously traditional and Mizrahi Haredi public.
In June 2011, he announced that he was planning to return to politics.
On the 28th of December 2014, Channel 2 released video footage in which the founder of Shas Rabbi Ovadia Yosef can be seen harshly attacking Deri. Yosef call Deri a wicked man and a thief. He accuses him of being too independent to follow any authority. The release of these tapes has been referred to as the Doomsday Weapon against Deri. That same day Deri handed a resignation letter to the rabbinical board of Shas who refused to accept it. On the following day, December 29, Deri presented his resignation to the Parliaments' chairman Yuli-Yoel Edelstein. Nevertheless he continued to head Shas throughout the election period, eventually receiving 7 Knesset seats from voters.