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Israel Supreme Court tells Netanyahu he must fire minister

Israel supreme court strikes down appointment of Minister Deri - court spokesman
Israel supreme court strikes down appointment of Minister Deri - court spokesman Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
By Reuters
Published on Updated
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By Maayan Lubell

JERUSALEM - Israel's Supreme Court ordered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to remove a senior minister over a past criminal conviction, in a setback for the new right-wing coalition government.

The 10-to-one ruling on Shas party leader Aryeh Deri looks likely to further stoke tensions between the Cabinet and Israel's Supreme Court over government reform plans which aim to rein in the top court.

"Most of the judges have determined that this appointment is extremely unreasonable and thus the prime minister must remove him from office," said a court summary of the ruling.

There was no immediate response from Netanyahu, who returned to office in December at the head of a hard-right government. Deri's Shas Party condemned the ruling.

Deri, who holds the interior and health portfolios and is due to become finance minister under a rotation deal, confessed to tax fraud last year in a plea deal that spared him jail time.

Political watchdogs had appealed to the Supreme Court to order Netanyahu to strike down the appointment, deeming it unreasonable.

The government's reform plans would increase government control over judicial appointments while limiting the Supreme Court's power to strike down legislation or rule against government actions.

They also include the removal of "reasonableness" as a court standard of review.

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