In a dramatic ruling, the High Court of Justice has struck down Shas leader Aryeh Deri’s appointment to the roles of interior minister and health minister in the new government, with 10 judges supporting the decision and one dissenting.
The judges say Deri’s appointment is “unreasonable in the extreme” due to his multiple convictions for corruption charges. They also cite “the position Deri presented to the Magistrate’s Court that convicted him of these charges, in which he said he was quitting politics, and his conduct thereafter.”
As a consequence, in accordance with the court ruling, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is required to dismiss Deri, who was sworn in with the rest of the government on December 29.
Court President Esther Hayut votes to strike down Deri’s appointment, joined by Uzi Vogelman, Anat Baron, Daphne Barak-Erez, Yael Willner and others.
The sole dissenter is Judge Yosef Elron, who says Deri should be forced to appeal to the Central Election Committee to have it determine the matter.
It remains to be seen how the new government will react, following veiled threats that a court decision to disqualify Deri could lead the coalition to expedite its efforts to severely limit the court’s power.
A senior member of Shas warned earlier today that if Deri is disqualified, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understands that the continued existence of his government will be in jeopardy.