Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday dismissed his best ally Arie Dehri from his cabinet. This is a move expected to cause political uncertainty, despite being ordered by the High Court and advocated by the Attorney General.
Netanyahu said he was ‘compelled and heartbroken’ to comply with Wednesday’s court dominate — which cites Deli’s multiple convictions and the recent apparent deception of lower courts, ending Deli’s dual appointment as Minister of the Interior and Minister of Health. The dismissal will take effect on Tuesday. Deli’s Shas party lobbied to find a way for Netanyahu to return to the cabinet, saying the prime minister “any lawful way This will allow us to continue to serve the State of Israel. ”
In response to his dismissal, Deli said that after the court decision it was “clear” to both himself and Netanyahu that he would leave the government, but that he would not withdraw from political life. “No judicial decision will prevent me from serving and representing,” he said to the more than 400,000 Shas voters who gave his ultra-orthodox party 11 Knesset seats in the November elections. rice field.
Deli promised to continue to lead Shas as a member of the Knesset, chair the factional meetings, and attend meetings of the coalition leaders. Indeed, Delhi participated in a coalition summit convened by Netanyahu shortly after the cabinet meeting that was dismissed.
A Deri spokesman said the Shas chief would also retain the title of deputy prime minister, but this is primarily an honorific title and carries no official powers. It is unclear whether it will allow , but a spokesman said it is likely that the government will continue to invite Deli to meetings as an observer.
In short, during Sunday’s ministerial meeting, Netanyahu temporarily left the room and left the meeting under Delhi’s responsibility. Earlier this month, Deli briefly stood in for Netanyahu when the prime minister underwent a routine colonoscopy.
In comments on Sunday, the prime minister condemned the court’s “unfortunate decision” to strip Deli of his ministerial post, saying “as shown by the great trust the public has placed in the elected representatives sitting in my government.” and disregarded the will of the people,” he said. , when it was clear to all that you would serve in the Cabinet as Senior Minister. ”
“Given your many years of experience as a Cabinet member in the late Prime Minister’s administration, I thought it important that you serve the State of Israel as a member of my Government’s Security Cabinet. Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin — extensive experience in contributing to Israel’s security and resilience,” Netanyahu continued, reading from a prepared letter to Deli, seated immediately to his right.
The prime minister came just three weeks after being sworn in with a hard-line coalition that promised political stability and just three months after winning Israel’s fifth national elections in less than four years, sparked by Delhi’s ouster. you will have a hard time solving the problem.
It is unclear who will replace Deli at the Ministry of Interior and Health. Normally, when a minister resigns, his portfolio automatically reverts to the prime minister for a temporary period until a new minister is appointed. However, Netanyahu faces criminal charges in connection with another corruption investigation, so the law prohibits him from holding cabinet seats other than the prime minister.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid has urged Netanyahu to quickly appoint him to fill the vacancy amid unsourced reports swirling that various potential outside candidates and a temporary Shas leader will take Deri’s place. asked.
“What we are looking at is the circus, not the government. Netanyahu is weak, but he needs to appoint a full-time health and home minister today,” Rapid said in a statement immediately after the cabinet meeting.
Deli was given oversight of two of Israel’s most powerful and well-funded ministries despite financial crimes. Netanyahu didn’t mention Dehri’s impending dismissal at the start of Sunday’s meeting, but made much of his remarks against expanding medical services covered by the country’s national health insurance. Congratulate the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health.”
The prime minister said the High Court’s decision to appoint the leader of Shas as Minister of Home Affairs and Health was “extremely unreasonable” in light of Deli’s recent criminal conviction in January 2022. He dismissed Deli four days after he handed down the shocking verdict.
At the time, Deli struck a plea bargain with the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, allowing him to resign from the Knesset before the verdict was delivered and avoid a hearing on whether the tax evasion conviction involved moral misconduct. rice field. Year.
Courts at the time believed Deli was retired from public life. However, he continued to lead the Shas from outside the Knesset, and was quickly reinstated as an MP in the elections on 1 November. Deli demanded to ensure Netanyahu’s return to the cabinet table, despite the Basic Law.
The coalition rushed for an amendment to allow Deli to take office on December 29, along with other members of the Cabinet.
Deli doubled down on Sunday, insisting he never gave the court the impression that he was quitting politics, despite the judge’s decision. comment From the time I accurately confirmed that impression.The High Court partly relied on judicial concepts in its ruling last week estoppelDeli argued that he could not benefit from the lenient plea bargain based on the assumption that he would leave public life and return to public life shortly afterwards.
In addition to adopting estoppel, the court found Delhi’s appointment to have failed the test of reasonableness and ruled out Netanyahu’s government in an effort to pass sweeping changes to its system of checks and balances. It was dismissed as failing the pledged standard of justice.
“I have told my friends in the government and the public that I have no intentions, no intentions, no commitments, that it is clear to the prosecution and it is clear to the former Attorney General, Dr. Avichai Mandelbrit. “I can tell you that there was…to retirement. From the beginning to the end of the discussion, things were clear and on the agenda,” Deli said at the cabinet meeting.
The Netanyahu government’s push for judicial reform includes bringing the appointment of judges under political control, protecting the Basic Law from court interference, and creating mechanisms to re-enact other laws that have been invalidated by the courts. is also included. His government says the balance of power between the political and judiciary branches needs to be fixed, but it has forced more than 100,000 Israelis who took to the streets Saturday night to protest the reform plan. Critics include that it gives the ruling coalition virtually all power by threatening democratic institutions and endangering civil liberties.
Following the ministerial meeting, the leaders of the main coalition government met with Netanyahu. A Likud spokesman said the meeting was held in “vigor” and “warmth”. Religious Zionist leader Bezalel Smotrich boycotted a cabinet meeting on Friday with two fellow party ministers in protest against the government’s decision to overturn protections for illegal settlements. attended.
In addition to the leaders of the United factions Deli, Smotrich, Yitzhak Goldnop of United Torah Judaism, Itamar Ben Guvir of Otuma Yehudit and Avi Maoz of Nome, the meeting also included the Deger Hatra faction of UTJ. Emir Moshe Gaffni and several members of Netanyahu’s Likud party were also present. — Minister of Justice Yariv Levin, Minister of Education Yoaf Kish, coalition government member Opir Katz.