In Israel, the Netanyahu government has been challenged by the Supreme Court

In Israel, the Netanyahu government has been challenged by the Supreme Court

Benyamin Netanyahu (right), with Interior and Health Minister Arie Déri, ​​​​​​8.  January 2023, in Jerusalem. Benyamin Netanyahu (right), with Interior and Health Minister Arie Déri, ​​​​​​8. January 2023, in Jerusalem. RONEN ZVULUN v AFP

The Israeli Supreme Court opened a major political crisis on Wednesday, January 18, by ruling that the number two in the government, the ultra-Orthodox Arié Déri, ​​should be impeached. 10 out of 11 judges overwhelmingly affirm that his court conviction for tax evasion in 2021 and his broken promise to retire from political life place his appointment “in serious contradiction to fundamental principles of the rule of law”.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers In Israel, the anti-government noose is gaining the streets and institutions

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, who has been in power since December 2022, rushed to the home of his key ally, his right arm, his “brother in distress” in Jerusalem within the hour, according to those around him. Mr Déri’s Shass party, with 11 MPs out of 120 in the Knesset, denounces an anti-democracy coup.

“The court that claims to watch over minorities has thrown away the votes and votes of 400,000 Shas voters,” say these ultra-Orthodox lawmakers. Mr Déri had announced himself before the verdict that he would not be stepping down from the positions he holds: Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Health, Minister of the Interior and “Periphery”. He calls on Mr. Netanyahu to solve this problem. Otherwise, his party threatens to overthrow the right-wing coalition. “If they slam the door in our face, we’ll come back through the window,” he warned on Wednesday evening. If they close the window, we’ll go through the roof. »

His coalition is inciting Mr Netanyahu to simply ignore the court’s decision. An impossible choice that would be illegal. The prime minister appears to be forced to sack Mr Déri in the long term. However, he will look for a way to bring him back to government, possibly to a tailor-made post of a rotating prime minister.

brutal showdown

Meanwhile, the coalition promises to step up its fight against the Supreme Court. She would like to give the Knesset the opportunity, with a simple majority, to overturn all judges’ objections to her laws and the actions of the government. Ultimately, this could allow Mr. Déri to return to business. Justice Minister Yariv Levin, who is passionate about the reform, on Wednesday called the court’s decision “absurd” and regretted that the judges “decided not to respect the people’s decision.” Already in the past week, debates of incredible violence in the committee have resulted in a majority against the country’s legal advisers and representatives of the attorney general.

You have 65.83% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.