Shas party leader resigns from Knesset over video

The head of the Sephardic Orthodox Shas party has officially resigned from the Knesset.

Aryeh Deri’s departure on Dec. 30 came after he attempted to resign the previous day. The Shas party’s council of rabbis rejected Deri’s initial resignation and ordered that he continue as chairman. The Jerusalem Post reported that Deri would not consider the rabbis’ request.

“My rabbis, don’t make this harder on me,” Deri wrote. “I can no longer live with the feeling that because of me there are disputes and fighting.”

Since the Knesset is dissolved, Deri’s resignation will have no immediate consequences. In his letter, Deri recommended that party member Ariel Atias take his position.

Deri’s resignation comes two days after a video was released showing the Shas party’s late spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef calling Deri a thief. Deri was convicted of graft in 1999 and was absent from politics until 2012.

Yosef, who died in 2013, appointed Deri as sole party chairman for Shas that year. — jta