Aryeh Deri

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Aryeh Deri
Arye Derey (cropped).jpg
Ministerial roles
1988–1992Minister of Internal Affairs
1993Minister without Portfolio
1993Minister of Internal Affairs
2015Minister of the Economy
2015–2021Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee
2016–2021Minister of the Interior
2018Minister of Religious Services
Faction represented in the Knesset
Personal details
Born (1959-02-17) 17 February 1959 (age 63)
Meknes, Morocco
Political partyShas

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. He is one of the founders of the Shas' political party,[1] and has served as Israel's Minister of the Interior, Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee, Minister of the Economy and as a member in the Security Cabinet of Israel. In 1999, Deri was convicted of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, and 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 the 2nd position, and was 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 will resign from the Knesset as part of a plea deal for tax offences.[2]


Aryeh Mahlouf Deri[3] 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 the French culture. His father owned a successful business of tailoring, and his family were traditional Jews, but not Orthodox.[1] 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. In 1981, he married Yaffa Cohen.

In addition to Hebrew, Deri is fluent in Moroccan Arabic and French.[4] His older brother, Yehuda Deri, is the Chief Rabbi and Av Beit Din of the city Be'er Sheva. He is also a member of The Chief Rabbinate Council. Another brother of Deri, Shlomo, is a lawyer.

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.

Deri is married, and has nine children. He lives in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem.[5]

Political career[edit]

Establishment of Shas[edit]

In 1984, he founded and began to serve as a secretary to Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah of Shas.[6] 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.

Interior minister[edit]

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.[7]

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 interior minister, and was given a three-year jail sentence in 2000. He was replaced by Eli Yishai.[8][9] Due to good behavior, Deri was released from Maasiyahu Prison in 2002, after serving 22 months.[10]

Return to public life[edit]

In June 2011, he announced that he was planning to return to politics.[11] 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,[12] with his seat taken by Lior Edri.

Deri with Zionist Union Leader and Leader of the Opposition Isaac Herzog, 2016

Despite his resignation from the Knesset, Deri headed the Shas list for the March 2015 elections, and was subsequently appointed Minister of the Economy and Minister of 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.[citation needed] 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.[13] He temporarily served as Minister of Religious Services in 2018 after the death of David Azulai.[14]

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.[15] 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.[15]

Subsequent criminal conviction and resignation[edit]

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."[16] 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.[17] 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 January 23, 2022, he resigned from Knesset as part of a plea bargain.[18] 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 534000 of income, by funneling payments from Green Ocean investment fund to his brother.[19][20] 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.[21]

If Deri seeks election to the Knesset within the next 7 years, a judicial determination will be made as to whether his crimes carry "moral turpitude". Deri and Shas have announced that he will continue to serve as chairman of the party from outside the Knesset.[21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dayan, Aryeh (1999). The Story of Shas.
  2. ^ "Shas chair Deri to resign from Knesset in plea deal that lets him stay in politics — report." The Times of Israel, December 20, 2021.
  3. ^ 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".
  4. ^ "Personal details". Knesset website.
  5. ^ מחיר השלום [The Price of Peace]. Mishpacha (in Hebrew). No. 1354. 26 April 2018. p. 4.
  6. ^ "Top Israeli politician goes to jail". BBC News. 3 September 2000.
  7. ^ יודילוביץ', מרב (27 May 2009). "תבוטל הצנזורה על סרטים". Ynet (in Hebrew). Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "Former Shas leader to leave prison". BBC News. 11 July 2002. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
  11. ^ "Former Shas leader announces intent to return to politics". Ha'aretz English. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  12. ^ Ettinger, Yair (29 December 2014). "After split with Shas, Yishai releases 'doomsday weapon' tape on Deri". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  13. ^ Interior Minister Shal Leader Deri Resigns From Knesset Yeshiva World, 31 October 2016
  14. ^ Twentieth Knesset: Government 34 Knesset
  15. ^ a b Mualem, Mazal (17 April 2020). "Netanyahu's right-wing bloc starts cracking". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Police recommend indicting Interior Minister Deri for fraud, breach of trust". The Times of Israel. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  17. ^ "Aryeh Deri faces indictment for tax offenses". Globes. 10 January 2021. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ staff, T. O. I. "No longer an MK, Deri convicted of tax offenses in plea bargain". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  20. ^ "שנת מאסר על תנאי: ביהמ"ש השלום קיבל את הסדר הטיעון בעניין דרעי". (in Hebrew). 1 February 2022. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  21. ^ a b Azulay, Moran (23 January 2022). "Shas leader Aryeh Deri submits his resignation from Knesset". Ynet. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  22. ^ "Rabbi Deri Vows to Remain Shas Chairman to Continue Fighting Government -". Hamodia. 2 February 2022. Retrieved 7 February 2022.

External links[edit]