Arye Deri vows to continue leading Shas after being fired from gov't

"It was clear to both of us that we would adhere to the court's ruling," Deri said to Netanyahu following his removal from the government.

 Arye Deri seen outside his home in Jerusalem on January 22, 2023 (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Arye Deri seen outside his home in Jerusalem on January 22, 2023
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

“I intend to continue with all my strength to contribute to the public and to the coalition,” Shas chairman Arye Deri said Sunday during the weekly cabinet meeting.

“Honored prime minister, I hear in your voice the sadness regarding the High Court’s ruling and its consequences,” he said after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu removed him from the government due to a ruling by the High Court of Justice last week that disqualified Deri over his criminal past. “Soon after the ruling was published on Wednesday, I was in my home, and at a very early stage, when some had already read the ruling and some had not, it was clear to both of us that we would adhere to the court’s ruling. This was not in doubt at any stage.

Deri: It was clear we would adhere to court's ruling

“[This is] contrary to those who decorate themselves with a crown of ‘quality’ government yet call for public unrest and to violate decisions by the Knesset and government.

“I can say to my fellow ministers and to the public that it was clear to the prosecution and to former attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit that I have no intention, and I never had any intention, to retire from political life. This was on the table and clear from the beginning of the negotiations [over a plea deal] until the end and even said by the representative of the attorney-general during the [High Court] hearing [on January 5].

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen with Arye Deri in a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on January 22, 2023 (credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen with Arye Deri in a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on January 22, 2023 (credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

“I have an ironclad commitment to the 400,000 people who voted for me and for Shas, and no judicial ruling will prevent me from serving them and representing them.

“I intend to continue with all my strength to contribute to the public and to the coalition, and I intend to continue leading Shas, continue attending meetings of the heads of the coalition parties and continue to assist in advancing the important steps that this government was chosen for – to strengthen and fortify governance, to maintain the State of Israel’s Jewish character and to assist the weakest populations and lift them from the circle of poverty, as I declared when the plea bargain was approved. Thank you very much,” Deri concluded.

In response to Deri’s removal, Construction and Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf (United Torah Judaism) said: “In addition to my many years of acquaintance with minister Rabbi Arye Deri, I had the opportunity to sit alongside him in a number of government meetings. He is one of the most outstanding and talented ministers, a great man of action. It is not a coincidence that hundreds of thousands of citizens voted for him.

“I heard from the prime minister that at the national security cabinet meetings, his wisdom significantly influences and contributes to the security of the country.

“United Torah Judaism will act as much as it can and will be a partner in any move to quickly return Deri to the government’s table. As far as our ministers are concerned, Rabbi Deri continues to be the minister, and that is how he will be treated,” Goldknopf said.

"United Torah Judaism will act as much as it can and will be a partner in any move to quickly return Deri to the government's table. As far as our ministers are concerned, Rabbi Deri continues to be the minister and that is how he will be treated."

Yitzhak Goldknopf

National Unity Party chairman Benny Gantz said: “Netanyahu did well to follow the High Court’s ruling and fire Deri, despite the political difficulty and the disagreement. At the same time, it is greatly unfortunate that we have come to a point where following court rulings have become something that is not a given. We must always remember, ‘Without fear of the government, people would swallow each other alive,’” Gantz said, quoting from Pirkei Avot.