Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday night that the appointment of Shas party leader Aryeh Deri to the posts of Minister of Health and Minister of the Interior was “highly inappropriate” given his criminal convictions, most recently for tax fraud in 2022.
This dramatic ruling further fueled tensions between the government and the legal community over plans to overhaul the judicial system.
Coalition members have said they will pass legislation barring courts from overruling the government on the basis of “reasonableness,” but that’s unlikely to be enough to overturn the Deri ruling.
The Shas faction has threatened to topple the new government if Deri is unable to sit in the Cabinet. Social Affairs Minister Yaakov Margi (Shas) said his party is unlikely remain in the government if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abides by Wednesday’s ruling and sacks Deri.
Without Shas and its 11 mandates, Netanyahu’s coalition will drop to 53 out of 120 Knesset seats and become a minority government.
The Shas party responded to the Supreme Court ruling by saying: “Today the court has effectively ruled that the elections are meaningless. The court’s decision is politically motivated and extremely unreasonable.”
Party officials note that 400,000 Israelis voted for Shas knowing the accusations and charges against Deri, which were not enough to sway them against making his the fifth largest party in Knesset.
Stay tuned for further background and commentary on this important development and its aftermath.
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