Aryeh Deri: Netanyahu fires key ally following Supreme Court order


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Aryeh Deri sacked his main ally from all cabinet posts on Sunday, in compliance with an Israeli decision. Supreme Court ruling It is unreasonable to appoint the leader of the Shas party to positions in the government.

The court said Deri’s appointment “cannot continue” because of his criminal conviction and because he told the court last year before his tax fraud conviction that he would retire from public life.

Netanyahu told Al-Dari that he took the step “with a heavy heart, with great sadness,” according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Deri’s dismissal came the next day after more than 100,000 people demonstrated in central Tel Aviv against the Netanyahu government and planned judicial reforms, according to police estimates in Israeli media. Police said thousands of people protested in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities.

This is the third week that opponents of the Netanyahu government have taken to the streets in protest, but it is the largest turnout yet.

Netanyahu’s justice minister, Yariv Levin, announced a series of judicial reforms earlier this month that will allow parliament to overturn Supreme Court decisions and give politicians more power in appointing judges. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that Netanyahu must remove Deri, who had previously been convicted of criminal charges including tax offences. Deri served a suspended sentence and said he was leaving public office.

Al-Dari’s Shas party – which won 11 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset in November and is a key component of Netanyahu’s coalition – responded immediately, calling the court’s decision “arbitrary and unprecedented”.

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Israeli protesters take part in a rally against Netanyahu's new government in Tel Aviv on January 21, 2023.

The Sephardi religious party said that the court “today canceled the votes and votes of 400,000 voters from the Shas movement.”

“Today, the court has in effect ruled that the election is meaningless. The court’s decision is political and malicious,” the party said.

The Supreme Court has been asked to rule on whether it was legally reasonable to appoint Deri to positions in Netanyahu’s government despite his tax fraud conviction. The judges decided that his appointment “could not continue.”

“This is, among other things, due to his backlog of criminal convictions,” and his failure to retire from public life as he said he would when he was tried in the tax fraud case.

Opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Yair Lapid and former Defense Minister Benny Gantz, took part in a protest on Saturday in Tel Aviv.

What you see here today is a demonstration in favor of the state. People who love the country have come to defend its democracy, its courts, the idea of ​​a shared life and the common good.” There are lovers of Israel who have come here to demonstrate for a democratic Jewish state according to the values ​​of the Declaration of Independence. We will not give up until we win.”

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