On Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complied with the Supreme Court ruling, that Shas party leader MK Aryeh Deri was not allowed to be a minister. As he fired Deri, he told him, “It is with a heavy heart, with great sorrow, and with an extremely difficult feeling that we are forced to transfer you from your position as a minister in the government.”
Currently, the coalition government is in a battle to curb the runaway powers grabbed by the Supreme Court over the years, which began under the leadership of then-Chief Justice Aharon Barak. The court’s latest decision only made their need to legislate the separation of powers clearer and more urgent to the coalition members.
The letter read by Prime Minister Netanyahu at the cabinet meeting stated:
“As you know, I decided to appoint you as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior and Health with the approval of the majority of Knesset members due to the fact that I see you as an anchor of experience, intelligence and responsibility that are important to the State of Israel at all times, and especially at this time.
I also thought that it was important that you serve the State of Israel as a member of the security-political cabinet in my government, where you could influence your many years of experience as a cabinet member in the government of the late Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin – rich experience that contributes to the security and resilience of the State of Israel.
Unfortunately, despite the above, on 18.1.23 the Supreme Court decided in its session as the High Court that I have an obligation to remove you from your position as Minister of the Interior and Health. This unfortunate decision ignores the will of the people, as reflected in the great trust that the public gave to the people’s representatives and their elected officials in my government, when it was clear to everyone that she would serve in the government as a senior minister.
I intend to look for any legal way in which you can continue to contribute to the State of Israel from your many experiences and skills, in accordance with the will of the people.
However, following the provisions of the said judgment, I must inform you that according to section 22 (b) of the Basic Law of the Government, I am forced with a heavy heart, with great sorrow and with an extremely difficult feeling, to transfer you from your position as a minister in the government.
MK Aryeh Deri responded with the following statement:
“Dear Prime Minister, I hear in your voice the sadness over the court’s decision and its consequences.
Very shortly after the publication of the decision on Wednesday, I was at home, at a very early stage when some had read the court’s decision and some had not yet read it, and it was clear to both of us that we would abide by the court’s decision, there was no doubt about it at any stage.
In contrast to those who boast of the “quality” of the rule of law and call for disturbances and violations of the decisions of the Knesset and the government.
I can tell my friends in the government and the public that it was clear to the prosecution and it was clear to the previous attorney general, Dr. Avichai Mandelblit, that I have no intention and have never had any intention and I have not committed to withdrawing from political life. Things were clear on the table from the beginning of the contacts to their end. The words were also said by a representative of the High Courts Department at the hearing.
I have an iron commitment to the 400,000 people who voted for me and the Shas. No judicial decision will prevent me from serving them and representing them.
I intend to continue to contribute with all my might to the public and the coalition, I intend to continue to lead the Shas movement, to continue to participate in the meeting of the leaders of the coalition factions and to help promote the important legal moves that this government was elected to promote to strengthen and strengthen the governance, and to preserve the Jewish identity of the State of Israel, to help the weaker sections and get them out of the cycle of poverty , as I stated at the time when the plea agreement was approved. Thank you”.