Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Shas party has welcomed an old face back into the fold as the race for the parliamentary elections hots up.
Former party leader Aryeh Deri will be part of a temporary leadership troika under a deal worked out with current leader Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
Deri was last active in Shas party leadership as chairman in 1999; he left following convictions on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Political analyst Yair Ettinger:
"What happened last night in Shas party,probably, is going to affect Netanyahu's government because Netanyahu is now facing a new challenge new party which would be much strong than it used to be in the last years and that's because Deri, the fact that Deri joined the leadership of Shas party is going to take some votes probably from the Likud party."
Shas currently controls around ten percent of seats in the Israeli parliament.
Deri, known for his charm and wit, will doubtless be hoping for a return to the good old days of his early political career in time for January’s elections; he became Israel’s youngest ever cabinet minister at 28, before being forced to resign only a year later on corruption charges.