Former Shas chairman coming back: Aryeh Deri, the former political meteor who at one time held great clout and was considered one of Israel's most powerful men, announced Wednesday that he is returning to politics.
Speaking at the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, Deri said: "In the State of Israel, one can make no contribution without political power, and I therefore decided to establish a movement. I'm coming back and I wish to use political power for the sake of unity and public responsibility."
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Deri said, however, that his new movement will not be a sectoral party like Shas. "What was appropriate in 1984 is no longer relevant," he said.
As for any premiership aspiration, Deri said: "I wasn't fashioned for it".
Following the Presidential Conference panel Deri told Ynet that he wouldn't necessarily be establishing a new movement: "I'm going back to public life, but I don't know in which capacity. The way Shas looks today might not be the way it looks in the future." This could mean that Deri hasn't completely given up on the idea of taking control of Shas.
The 52-year-old Deri served as interior minister and Knesset member since 1998, but in 1993 quit the government over corruption suspicions. In 1999 he was convicted of several offences, including receiving a bribe, fraud, and breach of trust.
Deri's conviction, and the claims that he faced injustice because he is Sephardic and haredi, played a prominent role in Shas' subsequent elections campaign, enabling the party to boost its Knesset presence from 10 to 17 seats. Despite the favorable outcome, Deri quit as head of Shas and was replaced by Eli Yishai.
'My great fear is wars'Yet on Wednesday, the former minister said he felt politics was his calling.
"I'm not coming from a place of vengeance or ambition," Deri said. "In every poll out there I get seven or eight Knesset seats, despite jail and all the other things that happened to me."
Turning his attention to the peace process, the former Shas chairman said: "My great fear is wars. I never voted in favor of a war or military operation."
He added that his return is motivated first and foremost by a desire to bring the public together, "so that if we go into a peace process we'll be united."
"I'm obviously in favor of a peace process, but there is no black or white. The question is how many risks we'd be able and willing to assume," he said.
Over the past year, Deri joined critics of the government over rising prices in Israel. A few months ago he told Ynet that "a government under which young people who work hard cannot afford an apartment does not deserve to govern."
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