Shas rivals Eli Yishai and
convened for a historic reconciliation meeting on Wednesday, and announced that they are to share the party's leadership with Ariel Atias.
"I have joyfully returned home today," said Deri, who returned to Shas
after a 13-year absence.
It remains unclear who will head the party's Knesset list for the upcoming elections.
Yishai, Deri and Atias on Wednesday (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The meeting followed months of tension between Yishai and Deri, who resigned from the party after being convicted of accepting bribes. The former minister thanked Yishai, who assumed the chairmanship of the party after Deri's departure, for "stirring the ship honorably in recent years," and expressed hope the two could work together respectfully.
It appears as though the race for the top of the party's Knesset ticket has been put on hold with the interim compromise, and the division of functions has been postponed.
Addressing the deal, he said: "Everyone is making concessions and I'm glad that no has lost – we all won."
Yishai, who serves as interior minister, welcomed Deri back into the fold.
"Aryeh has returned home," he said. "We've been waiting for a reunion for years."
Historic meeting (photo: Yaakov Cohen)
Deri and Yishai thanked Atias for mediating their reconciliation.
Atias, who holds the position of housing and construction minister, asserted that the reconciliation only makes Shas more powerful.
"Today Shas showed everyone how to overcome discord," he said. "I don't want to downplay (the disagreement), but I witnessed the meeting between Eli and Aryeh and was surprised how easily the put this difficult period behind them."
De facto control of Shas has become a bone of contention between Yishai and Deri recently. While Yishai has insisted he must stay at the top of the list, Deri has agreed to assume second place only if he is given most of the authority that is granted to the chairman of the party.
Earlier Wednesday, Shas Knesset Member Nissim Zeev lauded the deal that is taking shape, and stressed that the tension between the two politicians will dissipate once the compromise takes effect.
"We need to wage a joint battle instead of allowing for the internal struggles that plague other parties within Israel's
political system," he said.