Shas Chief Dery May Demand Both Both Interior and Religious Ministries

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Dery after the election, on Mar. 18, 2015. Shas was in the opposition last time.Credit: Emil Salman

Shas party chairman Arye Dery is considering requesting two cabinet portfolios for himself in the next government. If his party is allotted two ministries in the coalition negotiations, he may ask to head both the interior and religious affairs ministries.

Dery has not made a final decision on the matter, but should he do so, it might be a solution for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is currently facing legal regulations that limit the incoming cabinet to 18 members. This legislation was pushed through in the outgoing Knesset by Dery’s political opponent, Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid.

Dery apparently believes that if he takes the two portfolios himself, it will also pave the way for some deputy-minister slots for Shas. Although currently at the theoretical stage, if these plans come to fruition, they would also serve to solidify his status as head of his party.

As Dery now gears up for entering the new government, after Shas was in the opposition in the last one, petitions have been circulating on the Internet calling on the prime minister not to appoint Dery to the cabinet at all, due to his conviction in 1999 on charges of taking bribes and breach of trust.