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–Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee
2016–Minister of the Interior
2018Minister of Religious Services
Faction represented in the Knesset
Personal details
Born (1959-02-17) 17 February 1959 (age 62)
Meknes, Morocco

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 Shas' founders,[1] and acts on its behalf as Minister of the Interior, Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee, and a member in the Security Cabinet of Israel. He previously served as Minister of the Economy. 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.


Aryeh Mahlouf Deri[2] 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] When Aryeh turned 5, he began to learn in Ozar Hatorah, a school that combined secular and Orthodox Jewish religious education. In 1968, as he turned 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. The young couple were financially supported by a couple of Holocaust survivors from New York who Yaffa knew.

In addition to Hebrew, Deri is fluent in Moroccan Arabic and French.[3] 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.[4]

Political career[edit]

Establishment of Shas[edit]

In 1984, he founded and began to serve as a secretary to Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah of Shas.[5] 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 December 22, 1988. At 29, he was the youngest government minister in Israel's history.

As Interior Minister, he abolished the censorship of plays in theaters.[6]

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 March 15, 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.[7][8] Due to good behavior, Deri was released from Maasiyahu Prison in 2002, after serving 22 months.[9]

Return to public life[edit]

In June 2011, he announced that he was planning to return to politics.[10] 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,[11] 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.[12] He temporarily served as Minister of Religious Services in 2018 after the death of David Azulai.[13] Israeli police recommended on 20 November 2018 that he be indicted for "committing fraud, breach of trust, obstructing court proceedings, money laundering, and tax offenses."[14]

On April 17, 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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dayan, Aryeh (1999). The Story of Shas.
  2. ^ 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".
  3. ^ "Personal details". Knesset website.
  4. ^ מחיר השלום [The Price of Peace]. Mishpacha (in Hebrew) (1354). April 26, 2018. p. 4.
  5. ^ "Top Israeli politician goes to jail". BBC News. September 3, 2000.
  6. ^ יודילוביץ', מרב (May 27, 2009). "תבוטל הצנזורה על סרטים". Ynet (in Hebrew). Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  7. ^ Sontag, Deborah (September 4, 2000). "In a Divided Israel, Thousands Rally for the Ex-Shas Party Leader as He Goes to Jail". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  8. ^ Kessel, Jerrold (September 3, 2000). "Israeli political leader goes to jail after emotional send-off". CNN. Archived from the original on March 27, 2005. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  9. ^ "Former Shas leader to leave prison". BBC News. July 11, 2002. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  10. ^ "Former Shas leader announces intent to return to politics". Ha'aretz English. June 22, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  11. ^ Ettinger, Yair (December 29, 2014). "After split with Shas, Yishai releases 'doomsday weapon' tape on Deri". Haaretz. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  12. ^ Interior Minister Shal Leader Deri Resigns From Knesset Yeshiva World, 31 October 2016
  13. ^ Twentieth Knesset: Government 34 Knesset
  14. ^ "Police recommend indicting Interior Minister Deri for fraud, breach of trust". The Times of Israel. November 20, 2018. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  15. ^ a b Mualem, Mazal (April 17, 2020). "Netanyahu's right-wing bloc starts cracking". Al-Monitor. Retrieved April 17, 2020.

External links[edit]