Deri named Shas Party chairman

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Aryeh Deri was appointed chairman of Shas by the Sephardic haredi Orthodox party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

The appointment Thursday comes seven months after a triumvirate of lawmakers was tapped to lead the party through the November 2012 national elections. Deri, along with Eli Yishai and Ariel Atias, have been leading the party. Atias on Thursday was named chairman of the party’s education network.

Shas, which is part of the opposition, has 11 seats in the Knesset.

Deri, who was indicted in 1993 for accepting bribes, resigned as party chief 13 years ago after his conviction for bribery. He was sentenced in 2000 to three years in prison and barred from public service in the political arena for seven years. Yosef said at the time that the party’s leadership would be given to Yishai until Deri’s return.

Deri had threatened in October to launch his own party if he were not permitted to retake the Shas chairmanship.

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