Israel's High Court of Justice has ruled that it would be "unreasonable in the extreme" for Aryeh Deri to serve as Minister of the Interior and Minister of Health. An 11-justice panel voted by 10-1 to strike down the appointment with Judge Yosef Elron the only dissenting voice. The court instructed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to remove Deri from the ministries.
The explanation behind the ruling was, among other things, due to the criminal convictions Deri has accumulated, which also include a conviction for tax offenses in February 2022, by Deri's own admission as part of a plea deal, and also due to Deri's declaration to the Magistrate's Court that sentenced him for these offenses that he would be retiring from political life.
Some of the judges believed that in view of this declaration, which affected the results of the criminal proceedings regarding the tax offenses, Deri was prevented from serving as a minister according to the doctrine of estoppel and the principles of fairness and honesty. Judge Yosef Alron, who was in a minority opinion believing that the petitions should be rejected, but stated that the Prime Minister should have contacted the Chairman of the Elections Committee so that he could determine whether there was 'moral turpitude' in the tax offenses for which Deri was convicted.
Adv. Navot Tel-Zur, Deri's defense attorney, claimed that Deri's retirement was not part of the plea deal, and that there had been a misunderstanding.
Adv. Michael Rabello, who represents Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claimed that "the Prime Minister wants to stabilize the ruling ship - this is the top consideration. Public trust is not only a matter of criminal offenses, and God forbid I am not playing this down."
Adv Nati Simhoni on behalf of the Shas faction added that if the nomination falls through, it will be the annulment of the voter's decision. "The voters decided that they want Deri. This is the judgment of those 400,000 people."
Supreme Court President Judge Ester Hayut, clarified in the hearing that the right to vote is for a Knesset party, and not for a minister.
Judge Dafna Barak-Erez asked, "Is it possible to trade in anything in the name of the majority? - Can the majority decide on the results of a criminal proceedings and issues about its outcome?"
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 18, 2023.
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