Jerusalem, Jan 22 (EFE).- Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu sacked cabinet minister and ally Aryeh Deri on Sunday, days after the Supreme Court ruled against his appointment due to his criminal past.
Deri was serving in a dual capacity as interior and health minister in Netanyahu’s cabinet.
“I am compelled, with a heavy heart, with great sorrow and with the worst possible feeling, to remove you from your position as a minister in the government,” the prime minister said in a letter to Deri.
On Wednesday, Israel’s top court court annulled the ministerial appointment of the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party because of several corruption convictions, the most recent being tax fraud in February last year.
The ruling will see Deri, the most experienced member of Netanyahu’s government, leave his roles within 48 hours only 26 days after taking office.
Deri had held the role of interior minister several times, the first of which in 1988.
The Israeli politician has a long history of corruption, serving jail time in 2000 for taking bribes, while he avoided imprisonment in 2022 in exchange for a plea deal that forced him out of politics.
“This unfortunate decision ignores the will of the people,” Netanyahu stressed, a day after massive protests in Tel Aviv against his rule.
The new right-wing coalition government has proposed several reforms including ones that would grant more power to parliament, weaken the independence of the judicial system by giving politicians the biggest say in appointing judges.
In recent weeks, tens of thousands of people in Israel have taken to the streets to protest against the “anti-democratic policies” of Netanyahu, with over 100,000 turning out on Saturday night in Tel Aviv. EFE