'We'll Do Everything to Return Dery to His Rightful Place,' Netanyahu Says, Backing Fired Minister

A day after the firing of Arye Dery following the High Court's decision, coalition members - including the prime minister - held a press conference attacking the media and defending the convicted criminal

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
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Coalition members, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, back ousted minister Arye Dery.
Coalition members, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, back ousted minister Arye Dery.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

Coalition members from all the factions participated on Monday in the Shas party meeting in the Knesset and expressed full support for the party's chairman, Arye Dery, who was fired on Sunday from his position as minister.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that "We'll do everything in our power to return Dery to his rightful place in the government."

"We're subject to a flood of endless, mendacious and false propaganda, whose aim is to end democracy." Netanyahu also said that "democracy is the rule of the majority and also respect for individual rights. We call it 'minority rights,' but we'll talk about it another time."

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Dery “with a heavy heart” from his roles as health and interior minister at a cabinet meeting, following the High Court's bombshell decision last Wednesday which barred the Shas party chair from serving in the cabinet following his criminal conviction on tax evasion charges last year and subsequent suspended sentence.

Religious Zionism party leader, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, said at the meeting that the fight for Dery is being led by his faction member Simcha Rothman and Justice Minister Yariv Levin. "We're all here with you to stand by your side, with the understanding that this is a struggle for all of us," Smotrich added.

Levin said at the meeting that "when the judge determines who's suitable in his eyes to be a minister according to criteria he invents, according to the opinion of a legal advisor… This isn't democracy. The rule of the judge isn't the rule of law. Many times the opposite. In a democracy the most basic thing is to respect the people's choice."

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired his ally Arye Dery “with a heavy heart” from his roles as health and interior minister at a cabinet meeting on Sunday, following a High Court ruling barring the ultra-Orthodox leader from holding these posts.

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