State Attorney Shai Nitzan on Monday determined that the appointment of Shas Chairman MK Aryeh Deri as Interior Minister is judicially untenable and should be revoked — Justice Ministry officials leaked to Ha’aretz. The State Attorney’s position contradicts that of the Attorney General, who gave his tacit approval to the appointment.
Nitzan will be facing a Supreme Court panel that will hear in the next few days an appeal from the Movement for Quality Government in Israel against the appointment. Nitzan is adamant about not letting an ex-con serve once again in the very office from which he was forced to resign in disgrace for bribes he had taken while serving there. Nitzan noted that he could, with difficulty, approve the appointment of Deri to any other Ministry.
Last week, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein wrote Prime Minister Netanyahu that “the yardstick established by the Supreme Court in its ruling on the matter before us does not lead me to the conclusion that Deri’s appointment, on the judicial level, is extremely unreasonable.” Having said that, Weinstein insisted that “the very appointment of Deri to the post of a minister generates judicial difficulties and has been defined by the Supreme Court as tittering on the borderline of what is reasonable.”
On Monday, the Knesset approved by a 54 to 43 vote the Deri appointment that had been approved unanimously by the cabinet on Sunday. But should the High Court set a date to hear the appeal against Deri’s appointment, the government would face a problem as its attorney would not defend the Knesset vote.
The Knesset debate on the appointment was as raucous as they come, but, surprisingly, Netanyahu’s biggest foes in the opposition, the United Arab List, opted to abstain, because they view Deri as an ally when it comes to their social plight. MK Ahmad Tibi said Deri was an empathic listener, and said he expected him to be a good Interior Minister for the Arab sector.
Yesh Atid Chairman MK Yair Lapid attacked the appointment, saying the only reason the appointment could even be considered legal is because the legislator had never dreamed of a situation whereby a minister who was kicked out of office in disgrace and was convicted for crimes committed while running that office, would have the tenacity to seek that very same office.
But MK Israel Eichler of United Torah Judaism said the Monday vote corrected a historic wrong that was done to the young and promising Aryeh Deri, “so he wouldn’t be able to carry out his revolution.”
In tractate Sotta 49b, our sages describe the signs of the approaching Messiah as including a rise in chutzpah and an increase in the cost of living, despite a flourishing economy. The reader is invited to look into the rest of those signs, many of which are not appropriate for discussion in a family paper. But there is no doubt that the Knesset vote on Monday did much to bring the Messiah nearer.