Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Key ally Aryeh Deri conceded to an Israeli from all ministerial posts on Sunday High Court judgment Appointing Shas party leader to government positions is unfair.
The court said Terry’s appointment “cannot stand” because of his criminal convictions and because he had told the court last year that he was retiring from public life before he was sentenced in a tax evasion case.
Netanyahu told Deri that he made the move “with a heavy heart, with great regret,” according to a statement from the prime minister’s office.
According to police estimates in Israeli media, Teri’s dismissal came a day after more than 100,000 people demonstrated in central Tel Aviv against Netanyahu’s government and its planned judicial reforms. Thousands of people protested in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities, police said.
It was the third week in a row that opponents of Netanyahu’s government have taken to the streets, but the largest turnout so far.
Netanyahu’s Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced a series of judicial reforms earlier this month that would allow parliament to overturn high court rulings and give politicians more power to appoint judges. On Wednesday, the High Court ruled that Netanyahu must dismiss Teri, who was previously convicted of crimes including tax crimes. Terry served a suspended sentence and said he was leaving public office.
Teri’s Shaz party – which won 11 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset parliament in November and is a key part of Netanyahu’s coalition – immediately called the court ruling “arbitrary and unprecedented”.
“Today the court threw away the voices and votes of 400,000 voters of the Shas movement,” the Sephardi religious party said.
“Today the court has ruled that the election is meaningless. The court’s verdict is political and tainted,” the party said.
The High Court was asked to rule on whether Deri’s appointment to Netanyahu’s cabinet was legally justified despite his conviction for tax fraud. The judges ruled that his nomination was “unsustainable”.
“This is due, among other things, to the backlog of his criminal convictions,” and his failure to retire from public life as he said he would do when convicted of tax fraud.
Saturday’s protest in Tel Aviv was attended by opposition leaders including former Prime Minister Yair Labit and former Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
“What you see here today is a pro-government demonstration. People who love the country came to defend its democracy, its courts, public life and the common good,” Lapid tweeted. “Here are lovers of Israel who have come to demonstrate for a democratic Jewish state according to the values of the Declaration of Independence. We will not give up until we win,” he said.
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