CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Former Shas party leader Arieh Deri lost his bid for a political comeback when the Jerusalem District Court ruled him ineligible to run in the city's mayoral race.
Israeli law prohibits people convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude to run for office for seven years following their release from prison.
"The banishment time stipulated by the law is meant to ensure that positions of public leadership will be filled by those whose moral level is appropriate to holding public office," District Court Judge Moshe Sobel wrote.
"Committing a crime involving moral turpitude is not consistent with the moral level required of elected officials, at least not until enough time has passed to blunt the impression created by the crime," he stated.
"Only thus will public confidence in elected officials be guaranteed and only thus will the ability of the elected official to carry out his public mission in an effective and appropriate way be assured," the judge wrote.
Deri's spokesman, Yosef Haim Halaf, said Deri will find a way to return to "public service" and his campaign headquarters issued a statement.
"We are certain that a way will quickly be found to allow Rabbi Arieh Deri to utilize his abilities and experience for the good of the Israeli public and the people of Jerusalem," the statement read.
Shas chairman Eli Yishai, who took over when Deri went to prison, called the court's decision "a blatant blow to the basic human right to vote and to be elected." Yishai told Deri that "Shas is behind you."