Arye Deri 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Despite plenty of political discussion, the “Deri Law” showed no sign of being
successfully revived on Thursday.
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After former Shas leader Arye Deri
announced on Wednesday his intention to return to politics, MK Tzipi Hotovely
(Likud) said she would try to promote the bill, which she had proposed with MKs
Yariv Levine (Likud), Marina Solodkin (Kadima) and Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) in
The Deri Law, which would ban from national office anyone
convicted of a crime reflecting ethical violations and who served a year or more
in prison, was vetoed at the time by United Torah Judaism.
“The law lists
basic conditions for candidacy, like having to be at least 21 years old and an
Israeli citizen. A person who committed crimes while holding public office would
not be able to return to politics,” if the bill would pass, Levine
Deri served 22 months in prison for accepting $155,000 in
bribes during his tenure as director-general of the Interior
Levine said UTJ sent an official letter vetoing the law in
2010, and Israel Beiteinu threatened to do the same, should no other party step
forward. UTJ would have to retract its letter in order for the law to be
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Following a Channel 10 investigation with possibly
incriminating evidence that Lieberman took part in multi-million dollar business
transactions during his time in the Knesset and as a minister, Israel Beiteinu
is likely to continue rejecting the bill, which could end the foreign minister’s
political career, should he be convicted.
Lieberman and Deri are known to
be close friends.
Israel Beiteinu would not officially comment on the
Deri Law, with a party spokesman saying the bill “has not been brought to any
kind of vote yet. We will make a decision when the law is
Although most Knesset members would be likely to back the
bill, there is little chance it will pass, due to a clause in the current
coalition agreement allowing any faction in the coalition to veto a change to a
Basic Law. The Deri Law would require amendments to both Basic Law: The Knesset
and Basic Law: The Government.
“There isn’t much we can do other than
bring it to a vote and put pressure” on the parties in the coalition, Levine
said. “There is no justification for a veto. It’s unclear to me how anyone can
defend such a stance.”
He added that some have suggested “changing the
bill so that anyone who committed a crime in the past would be allowed to run
for office,” and only crimes committed after the bill passes would be
“I think that’s making a mockery of the bill,” Levine
“For me, this isn’t the Deri bill.
This is a law about
morality and integrity, and when I initiated it, I thought of [former president]
Moshe Katsav and [former president] Ehud Olmert,” Solodkin said.
it’s important that the 120 Knesset Members who represent and are responsible
for the people of Israel not include such people who committed criminal ethics
violations.” Levine, Hotovely and Solodkin all expressed skepticism at the
likelihood of the law passing.
However, Levine said he may bring the bill
up again “closer to elections, when commitments to the coalition are weaker.
Maybe then it’ll pass,” he added.
Meanwhile, current Shas leader and
Interior Minister Eli Yishai took to the stage, uninvited, at a panel on
conversions during the President’s Conference in Jerusalem, where he made
references to the importance of unity, which some interpreted as digs at Deri.
“We have to unite around a Jewish, values-driven path,” he said.
MKs also expressed opposition to Deri’s return to politics.
MK Ilan Gilon said he “always believed that every citizen should have the right
to run for political office, but it is a very sad day for the state if the
public chooses to bring back someone who was removed from office for crimes,
ethical offenses and accepting bribes.”
MK Arye Eldad (National Union)
told Israel Radio that no person previously convicted of a crime should run for
office, and Deri’s candidacy would be a corruption of the political system.Jonah Mandel contributed to this report.
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