Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fires key ally after pressure from Supreme Court

 January 23, 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to fire Shas party leader and key ally Aryeh Deri on Sunday after the Supreme Court found that Deri's position in the government was "unreasonable to the extreme" because of Deri's past tax offenses.

Netanyahu stated that it was "with a heavy heart, much regret, and the most terrible feeling" that he had to fire Deri.

The Supreme Court's insistence that Deri be removed from Netanyahu's administration is the latest move in a brewing battle between Israel's judiciary and executive branches.

Eugene Kontorovich, director of International Law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum, explained that "they said that appointing him [Deri] in particular, given his checkered past, is ‘unreasonable’ – in other words, a bad idea. That is a reasonable policy position, but it has nothing to do with what the judges are supposed to be doing – interpreting law, or minority rights."

Netanyahu and his supporters alleged that the Supreme Court is making policy decisions rather than delivering objective judgments on litigation.

Aryeh Deri is the latest casualty in a conflict that could change the political landscape of Israel significantly. The only question is who will come out on top when the dust settles.