Shoppers at Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market on Thursday had differing opinions about Wednesday’s High Court of Justice ruling that Shas leader Arye Deri must leave the government.
Many of those who said that the court was overstepping believe that a politician who receives popular support should be able to hold an elected position, regardless of judicial opinion. Shas received some 340,000 votes in the last election, with voters assuming that the number one on this list – Deri – would receive a cabinet posting.
"I don't think a person who has been convicted of a crime and sat in jail should serve as a minister, but the Israeli people knew about [Deri's] convictions going in... They voted for him anyway, and that trumps any judicial decision," said one middle-aged man walking by the market with his wife. The woman voiced concurrence with her husband's opinion.
"The people of Israel have spoken," she said.
The couple added that they were for the judicial reforms that the Netanyahu government is trying to institute.
For marketgoers who approved of the verdict to disallow Deri from holding a ministerial position, the decision made by the High Court simply made sense.
"It's logical that he shouldn't be allowed to be a minister," one young woman. "He betrayed the Israeli people... he took bribes and evaded taxes." The woman, who appeared to be in her late twenties, was walking through the market with a man of a similar age.
The pair both expressed disapproval of Netanyahu's proposed judicial reform.
Others took a position that struck a balance between opposing viewpoints. A young man in his early thirties, also out walking with his significant other, noted that "[Aryeh Deri is] guilty and he sat in jail... it's logical [that he shouldn't be allowed to serve as a minister.]"
However, the man added "the High Court is taking too much onto themselves... I think we should have judicial reform...[but] I don't know if it should be how [Netanyahu] is doing it. But, we should have [reform]."
Still, others felt more hesitant to speak firmly on the subject. One middle-aged woman, upon being asked how she felt regarding the High Court's decision, looked uneasy before walking away saying, "it doesn't matter."
Another young couple didn't feel informed enough to give an opinion.
"Of course, I care," the man said. I just don't know how to feel."