aryeh deri 224.88 AJ.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
How do you say political comeback in English?
That's what former Shas chairman Aryeh Deri is learning in the month that remains of his political exile before he is legally permitted to return to political activity.
Deri is taking a specially designed, intensive eight-hour English course at the Berlitz language school on King George Street in Jerusalem, sources close to him said on Monday, confirming a report in Ma'ariv. They said he was also taking refresher courses in French, which was his native language in Morocco.
A moratorium on Deri engaging in politics will end in July, seven years after he was convicted of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust, crimes that involve moral turpitude.
Deri's associates said he had not decided in what framework to make his comeback, but he hopes to climb high on the political totem pole and he realizes being able to speak English could help.
"He wants to be involved in negotiations that can bring about Middle East peace," a source close to Deri said.
The courts prevented Deri from running for mayor of Jerusalem in November, ruling that the moratorium could not be waived even though the seven-year minimum was set in law after his conviction.
Ma'ariv reported that when he entered politics 25 years ago, Deri received advice to learn English from one of his spiritual mentors, the late Rabbi Eliezer Shach.
Whenever English courses have been taught at the Knesset, the classes have been filled with lawmakers from Shas, which for years has had the fewest number of English-speaking MKs. The only current Shas MK who speaks English is Nissim Ze'ev, who once served as a rabbi in New York.
A source close to current Shas chairman Eli Yishai said he took English courses when he was minister of industry, trade and labor in order to do his job better. They said he would continue the courses soon.
"He understands English a lot better than he speaks," the source said.
Yishai's spokesman declined to comment about Deri.
Deri himself did not return phone calls, but perhaps he will if he reads this article in his English class.
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