Dery Has 'No Idea' Why Criminal Inquest Launched Against Him

Shas leader and interior minister spoke for first time about criminal probe at party event in Jerusalem.

Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger
Shas party chairman and Interior Minister Arye Dery at the Negev Conference in Yeruham on April 12, 2016.
Dery at last week's Negev Conference on Yeruham. He spoke Sunday at a party event originally slated for the huge Payis Arena in Jerusalem.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger

For the first time since the police investigation against him began last month, Shas chairman and Interior Minister Arye Dery publicly declared that he doesn't understand what suspicions are being harbored against him. He appeared Sunday at a gathering in Jerusalem of party activists from all over the country.

The state prosecution opened a criminal investigation of Dery due to suspicions of corruption related to real estate transactions and other activities.

“As of this minute I have no idea what they’re talking about,” Dery told the audience, which included members of his ultra-Orthodox party's Knesset faction and representatives in local government.

The event, which took place in a Jerusalem banquet hall, was held instead of the mass event scheduled for the large Jerusalem Payis Arena during the Intermediate Days of Passover next week. Dery decided to cancel that event out of concern it would turn into a protest against the probe against him.

At Sunday night’s gathering, which was closed to journalists, Dery asked those present to continue working as normal and to intensify their activities after the holiday.

Before the event, Dery’s aides asked the MKs who planned to speak at it to avoid making any heated comments about the inquest. Nevertheless, Religious Services Minister David Azoulay said from the podium, “We hope that with God’s help, He will nullify the counsel and disrupt the designs of all those who have seen us start to rise, and are trying” – at which point he stopped himself.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Lake Kinneret. The high water level created lagoons at the northern end of the lake.

Lake Kinneret as You’ve Never Experienced It Before

An anti-abortion protester holds a cross in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Roe v. Wade: The Supreme Court Leaves a Barely United States

Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid Is the Most Israeli of All

A young Zeschke during down time, while serving with the Wehrmacht in Scandinavia.

How a Spanish Beach Town Became a Haven for Nazis