Netanyahu to Fire Loyalist Ally Arye Dery After Landmark High Court Ruling, Political Sources Say

The High Court ruled on Wednesday that the Shas party chairman should be removed from cabinet positions following his criminal conviction on tax evasion charges last year and subsequent suspended sentence

Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov
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PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Health and Interior Minister Arye Dery at a government meeting in Jerusalem, this month.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Health and Interior Minister Arye Dery at a government meeting in Jerusalem, this month.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to fire key ally and Interior and Health Minister Arye Dery during a cabinet meeting on Sunday, four days after a landmark High Court ruling barred Dery from holding ministerial posts, according to political sources familiar with the matter.

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The High Court's bombshell decision on Wednesday barred the Shas party chair from serving in the cabinet following his criminal conviction on tax evasion charges last year and subsequent suspended sentence.

Ten of 11 justices ruled against Dery's appointment, with Justice Yosef Elron the only one holding that the appointment should be conditioned on the Central Election Commission's chairman Chief Justice Solberg's ruling that Dery was not charged with moral turpitude.

In her decision, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut stated that "this is a person who has been convicted three times of offenses throughout his life, and he violated his duty to serve the public loyally and lawfully while serving in senior public positions."

Netanyahu is not entitled to ignore the "accumulation of serious corruption offenses," Hayut continued, adding that: "Having Dery in charge of two of the most important ministries in the government damages the image and reputation of the country's legal system and contradicts principles of ethical conduct and legality."

Despite his conviction, Dery had been appointed health and interior minister by Netanyahu, who formed the current far-right Israeli government in late December.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara addressed Netanyahu in a letter ordering that he fire Dery after the High Court's ruling.

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