Interior Minister and Shas party chairman Arye Dery, referring to an ongoing criminal investigation into possible irregularities involving properties owned by him or members of his family, told Army Radio on Thursday that he has “one apartment with a mortgage and that’s it. That’s all I own.”
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A gag order on the fact of the investigation was lifted in March, but most details are still barred from publication.
“Some of my children have apartments, some of them live at home,” Dery told radio broadcasters Yaron Dekel and Amit Segal.
“I have no savings. I have no bank accounts. I have nothing else. Everything is out in the open for all to see. What I have declared before the state comptroller and the media is what I have.”
Dery said he “recognizes the right and duty of law enforcement agencies, investigators and anyone else whose duty it is to investigate suspicions. That is their role in a democratic state, and I am waiting and willing to be at the disposal of anyone who wants to ask questions ... if I am called upon to respond.”
Dery said he has not been asked to report for questioning.
Dery also addressed the appointment of Rami Sadan as chairman of Israel Channel 10 News, which Shas has come out against after Haaretz reported that Sadan made derogatory remarks about Shas and about Dery himself during the board meeting at which Sadan presented his candidacy as chairman.
Sadan is a member of the board, and was recently appointed as its chairman.
Sadan reportedly said: “Let’s admit the truth, I, like you in the elite, detest Shas and that thief Arye Dery. ... But we, as an elite, need to reach beyond the channel’s usual circles, to appeal to the Shas audience, to ‘Masouda from Sderot.’”
“Masouda from Sderot” is a term in the Israeli political lexicon that refers to an uneducated Mizrahiwoman.
“I’m not the master of the house, but I can say that Shas will not let go of the struggle and will fight with all means possible,” Dery told the radio hosts.
He stressed that Sadan “cannot continue in his position because of what he said,” adding that while he does not interfere with media content or personalities, “Rami Sadan is not a director on behalf of the owner, he is a director on behalf of the public. He was appointed by the broadcast authority, and therefore I intervened,” Dery said.
Continuing, Dery said that had Sadan apologized the day his remarks were made public, at very same day, the matter would have been closed.
Instead, “[Sadan] started with denials, ‘it never happened,’ and then ‘I can’t take that back but if someone was insulted ....’”