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Prisoner Number 1111387.

By IsraelWire

Former Shas Party leader Rabbi Aryeh Deri has begun serving his three-year prison sentence, and will be spending his time behind bars in the Masiyahu (Ayalon) Prison.

Prison Authority officials explain that facility can accommodate Deri's religious needs from the special kosher diet to permitting him religious studies. The inmates in the facility are permitted to wear civilian clothing and are not required to dawn prison garb.

Deri, prisoner number 1111387, will be considered prisoner number one in the facility's Torah Wing, with many inmates pleased to hear the famed former government minister and Shas kingpin will be their new roommate for the coming three years.

In his farewell address at a solidarity rally in front of the prison on Sunday, Deri stated he accepts God's verdict with love, asking forgiveness from all persons that he may have slighted during his life and career. Deri made special mention of Rabbi Eliezer Mann Shach, the leader of the Lithuanian Torah community. The Shas Party broke off from Shach's Degel HaTorah Party following a conflict, leading to broken ties between the camps.

Deri loyalists promise the affair has not ended, expressing their anger over the decision to place him in Masiyahu despite Deri's repeated requests that he be permitted to serve his sentence in the Hermon Prison in northern Israel.

Prior to surrendering himself to prison officials, Deri told supporters he did not plan to request a presidential pardon and did not want anyone doing so on his behalf. In interviews granted by Deri over past weeks, he explained that in order for one to obtain a presidential pardon, one must sign a confession of one's crimes. He stated that he was not guilty of the crimes he was convicted, adding he never took bribes or embezzled monies for himself as was decided by the courts and therefore, could never request a pardon.

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Publication:Israel Faxx
Date:Sep 6, 2000
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