Arye Deri (Shas).
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Shas leader Arye Deri submitted his resignation letter from the Knesset on Monday, saying that he found himself too busy with his other jobs to devote time to the parliament.
In a meeting of the Shas faction, Deri said he wanted to devote his time to his Interior and Negev and Galilee Development portfolios, the chairmanship of Shas, and as a member of the security cabinet.
Deri told the faction that he was not quitting via the so-called Norwegian law that allows one minister or deputy minister from each party to quit the Knesset and return if his party leaves the coalition. Deputy Interior Minister Meshulam Nahari already quit the Knesset in that capacity for Shas.
“The fact that I am quitting outright and not using the Norwegian Law demonstrates my belief in the stability of the government,” Deri said. “I don’t expect the government to fall any time soon.”
Deri will be replaced by the next name on Shas’s list for the Knesset, Jerusalem city councilman Michael Malkieli.
A former student of Jerusalem’s Hebron Yeshiva, Malkieli holds the “ultra-Orthodox sports” portfolio on the city council. He previously was chief of staff to Religious Services Minister David Azoulay and a teacher at a yeshiva for dropouts. He lives in Jerusalem’s Neve Ya’acov neighborhood.
“I decided to clear the way for young forces,” Deri said.
Deri said he also decided he needed help running Shas. He asked Shas MK Yigal Guetta to become the party’s new secretary-general and take on Shas’s outreach to current and potential voters.