Shas chair Aryeh Deri responds to the decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fire him from his ministerial roles.
“I hear the sadness in your voice over the court decision and its consequences,” he says.
Deri says it was clear that the two would abide by the court decision as soon as it was made, and appears to contrast that dutiful adherence to the judges’ ruling with opposition activism against the coalition’s planned judicial overhaul. “There was no doubt about that at any stage,” he says, contrasting this to those who talk about the primacy of the rule of law while calling “to breach the public order and to breach Knesset and government decisions.”
Deri denies he made any pledge to resign from political life as part of his plea deal last year, and says this was clear to the state prosecution and the attorney general at the time. “My government colleagues and the public should know this,” he says. “I have no intention, and I never had the intention, and I never committed to withdrawing from political life. This was clearly put on the table from the start of the discussions [on my plea bargain] until their end,” he says.
“I have an ironclad obligation to 400,000 people that voted for me and Shas. No judicial decision will prevent me from serving and representing them,” he says.
Deri explicitly notes that he will continue in his role as a Knesset member and chair of his party, and will continue to participate in the meetings of the coalition’s party chiefs, “helping to advance the important judicial processes that this government has chosen to advance in order to strengthen and underpin governance, to protect the Jewish identity of the State of Israel, and to help the weaker echelons and bring them out of the cycle of poverty, as I declared when the plea bargain was approved.”