How did Shas chairman Arye Deri succeed in returning to the leadership of the party from which he was forcibly torn as a result of his conviction on bribery charges and his subsequent imprisonment in 1999?
This question, perplexing enough when it occurred after the general election in 2013 when Deri once again became the sole leader of Shas, became even harder to understand after an earth-shattering video was broadcast in December last year of the revered rabbi and late spiritual guide of the Shas movement Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
The video was recorded in 2008, five years before Deri was reinstalled as party chairman, in which Yosef is seen and heard calling current Shas chairman “an evil man” who did not listen to instructions, and said that he did not want to bring him back to the party even after his mandatory period of exclusion from front-line politics was up.
But the question has been asked, how was it that Yosef was so ardently against bringing Deri back in 2008 but that in October 2012 he agreed that Deri could return to the party, and then in May 2013 appointed him sole chairman once again.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post this week, Shas founder and outgoing MK Nissim Ze’ev explained that Yosef’s opinion of Deri never changed in the years between 2008 and 2012 but that because of his failing strength and health he no longer had the will to resist Deri’s unceasing pressure to return to the party leadership.