Shas chairman Arye Deri is expected to step down from his post as Economy Minister on Sunday, in order to allow the government’s gas plan to move forward.
Deri will retain the Negev and Galilee portfolio, which will be expanded to include authority over the “social periphery,” meaning over 200 neighborhoods throughout the country with an extremely low socioeconomic ranking.
The budget for Deri’s ministry will triple from NIS 150m. to NIS 450m.
A source close to Deri said the Shas leader will not accept an expansion of the relatively small ministry alone, and expects to receive an additional, more senior portfolio.
“In the end, Shas will be like Bayit Yehudi. They have almost the same number of seats [seven for Shas, eight for Bayit Yehudi] and Bayit Yehudi has three big portfolios [Education, Justice, and Agriculture] with big budgets and a lot of authority,” the source explained. “Shas will be left with two small ministries, the expanded Negev and Galilee, and Religious Affairs. It won’t stay like that.”