Israel Shas party chief stands down from parliament in plea agreement

Israel Shas party chief stands down from parliament in plea agreement
2 min read
23 January, 2022
The December plea agreement comes after ultra-Orthodox Shas head Aryeh Deri, 62, was previously found guilty of offences including breach of trust and bribery in 1999.
Aryeh Deri could stand for election again in 2025. [Lior Mizrahi/Getty-archive]

An Israeli lawmaker handed in his parliamentary resignation on Sunday after reaching a deal that will see him steer clear of jail and a potential ban from seeking election in 2025.

The December plea agreement says Aryeh Deri, chief of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, must also accept that he committed low-level taxation offences and submit to a fine of 180,00 shekels ($57,305), The Jerusalem Post reported.

While he must leave his post in the Knesset 48 hours from the point his resignation was given in, he can stay on as Shas head.

Given Deri's agreement to quit the legislature, Avichai Mandelblit, the state's attorney general, revealed he would not pursue an allegation of "moral turpitude", which carries a seven-year parliament election ban.

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This would allow Deri to stand for election again in 2025.

Israel's Supreme Court said it would not annul the agreement on Monday, after the Movement for Quality Government in Israel asked it to do so.

The Supreme Court said if the ultra-Orthodox leader tries to make a comeback in future, the justice system can look at the issue then, according to The Times of Israel.

Deri's deal currently hasn't received the Supreme Court's endorsement, though this is expected before February now that the Movement for Quality Government's objection has been addressed.

Deri, 62, was previously found guilty of offences including breach of trust and bribery in 1999 and handed a prison term of three years.

After the legal exclusion period, the former minister of the interior re-entered parliament in 2013.

Deri's seat will be taken up by ex-lawmaker Yosef Tayeb, the highest-ranked candidate on Shas' 2021 electoral list who did not reach the Knesset.

Tayeb oversees Shas' French efforts.