Following a ruling that barred him from holding office, Aryeh Deri was removed as minister of health and interior in Israel.
Aryeh Deri, a senior Israeli minister, was dismissed from his position by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a result of a shocking Supreme Court decision that ordered his exclusion from public office earlier this week.
According to a statement released on Sunday by the prime minister’s office, Netanyahu told Deri during a cabinet meeting: “I am forced to transfer you from your position as a minister in the government with a heavy heart, with great sorrow, and with an extremely difficult feeling.”.
Deri is the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party and one of Netanyahu’s most seasoned allies.
Following elections on November 1st, he was appointed interior and health minister as a member of the most right-wing government in Israeli history.
After being found guilty of tax offenses in 2022, the 63-year-old submitted his resignation from the Israeli parliament at that time.
With the courts, he reached a plea agreement in which he promised to leave politics and the parliament, only to come back nine months later and accept a ministerial position.
The prime minister “must remove Deri from his position” in light of Deri’s tax evasion conviction from a year ago, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
The decision, according to Netanyahu, is “regrettable” and “ignores the will of the people,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
Deri has a contentious legal background. He was found guilty of accepting $155,000 in bribes while serving as the interior minister in 2000, and he was given a three-year prison sentence.
Although still a powerful person, he served 22 months in prison before returning to public life in 2011. In 2013, he won re-election to the legislature.
In the November elections, Shas placed fifth overall after capturing 11 of the 120 seats in the Israeli parliament. The departure of Shas would bring down his new government because the coalition led by Netanyahu only has a three-seat majority.
The Israeli legal system is under unheard-of pressure as a result of the decision.
Last week, nearly every prosecutor and state attorney who has worked in Israel over the past 50 years issued a joint statement warning that proposed changes to the nation’s justice system would “destroy” judicial independence.
With a simple majority of 61 MPs (out of 120), the proposals include a provision that would allow parliament to reenact laws that the Supreme Court had declared invalid.
The annual Israel Democracy Institute survey, which was released last week, revealed that the majority of people in Israel believe that the Supreme Court ought to have the authority to overturn laws passed by the legislature if they are incompatible with democratic principles.
Thousands of Israelis protested against the judicial reforms on Saturday in Tel Aviv. One of the protesters was the former prime minister Yair Lapid.
“What you see here today is a pro-state rally. “People who love the country came to defend its democracy, its courts, the concept of a common life, and a common good,” he tweeted.