Israel’s Supreme Court annuls ministerial appointment

Israel’s Supreme Court annuls ministerial appointment

Home and Health Minister Arie Deri was sacked due to criminal convictions.

Israel’s Supreme Court opposed the appointment of a member of the new government. The chairman of the strictly religious Schas party, Arie Deri, could not retain his post as minister of the interior and health, judges ruled on Wednesday. The judges deemed the appointment “inappropriate.” Civil rights activists had previously filed complaints about his criminal past.

The verdict is seen as a severe blow to the new government of re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Deri has been convicted multiple times, most recently in 2021 for tax evasion. In order to be able to appoint interior and health ministers in Netanyahu’s new right-wing religious government, a law was specifically amended. He would later become Minister of Finance on a rotating basis.

It is feared that the new justice minister, Jariv Levin, could accelerate his plans to weaken the Supreme Court as a result of the ruling. In recent weeks, tens of thousands of people in Israel have taken to the streets. Another large demonstration is planned for Saturday in Tel Aviv.

Weakening of the planned STF

According to the plans, a majority in parliament should be able to pass a law even if the Supreme Court finds that it violates the Basic Law. Levin also wants to change the composition of the panel that appoints the judges. He accuses the STF of excessive interference in political decisions.

Deri was sentenced to three years in prison in 2000 for bribery, corruption and embezzlement, even when he was interior minister. In 2013, he made a political comeback. In 2021, he had to resign as deputy due to further tax infractions and was placed on probation as part of a settlement. He had assured the court that he wanted out of politics.