Netanyahu removes top minister Aryeh Deri after Supreme Court ruling
Deri will retain his role as Vice Prime Minister, as per his spokesperson, Israeli media reported.
Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu removed on Sunday Aryeh Deri, a top minister, from office following an Israeli occupation Supreme Court ruling against his appointment.
On Wednesday, the occupation's Supreme court announced that Deri cannot serve as minister due to a recent tax evasion conviction and a plea bargain forcing him to resign from political life last year, ruling that Netanyahu "must remove Deri from his position."
"It is with a heavy heart, with great sorrow and with an extremely difficult feeling that I am forced to transfer you from your position as a minister in the government," Netanyahu told Deri during a cabinet meeting, according to a statement from the occupation Prime Minister's office.
Last year, Deri, head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, was fined $50,000 and relinquished his parliamentary seat but ran for office again in the November polls.
He was appointed Health and Interior Minister last month as part of a coalition deal following "Israel's" November 1 elections after lawmakers passed legislation allowing anyone convicted of offenses but not given a custodial sentence to serve as a minister.
"I intend to seek any legal way whereby you can continue to contribute" to "Israel", Netanyahu also told the Shas party leader.
On his part, Deri argued that "I have no intention, and I never had the intention, and I never committed to withdrawing from political life. This was clearly put on the table from the start of the discussions [on my plea bargain] until their end."
"I have an ironclad obligation to 400,000 people that voted for me and Shas. No judicial decision will prevent me from serving and representing them," he claimed, indicating that he will remain in his role as a Knesset member and chair of his Shas party.
It is noteworthy that Deri had held several ministerial posts during his decades-long career, including after a seven-year ban following prison time for taking bribes.
The Times of "Israel" reported that Deri will retain his role as Vice Prime Minister, as per his spokesperson, noting that "it is unclear whether this will give Deri the ability to attend cabinet meetings as an observer."
The newspaper said that shortly after removing Deri as a minister, Netanyahu reportedly left his cabinet's meeting and had Deri run the meeting.
A couple of days ago, a senior member of Shas warned that if Deri is disqualified, Netanyahu understands that the existence of his government will be in jeopardy.
Commenting on the Israeli occupation's Supreme Court ruling, Netanyahu’s Likud party said in a statement that Deri is a “central and significant” part of the government, pledging to have him returned to office.
This comes as approximately 100,000 Israeli settlers gathered on Saturday for a demonstration against Netanyahu's government in "Tel Aviv".
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