September 27, 2023

Aryeh Deri seen outside his home in Jerusalem on January 22, 2023.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Aryeh Deri on Sunday following the cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu stated that the firing comes with “a heavy heart” and “great sorrow.” The prime minister also continued that he would find a “legal way” for Deri to continue serving the State of Israel. The dismissal takes effect in 48 hours, meaning Netanyahu will have to find new ministers to take over Deri’s responsibilities. This also means that Deri’s tenure as both health minister and interior minister lasted some 26 days.

“I see you as an anchor of experience, intelligence and responsibility that are important to the State of Israel at all times, and especially at this time,” Netanyahu said to Deri. “I also thought that it was important that you serve the State of Israel as a member of the security-political cabinet in my government, where you could influence your many years of experience as a cabinet member in the government of the late Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin.”

This comes following a Wednesday High Court ruling that disqualified the ultra-Orthodox party leader from being a minister. Then, following the court ruling, Israel’s attorney general Gali Baharav-Miara informed the prime minister that Deri must be fired immediately. Netanyahu referenced these decisions during his speech to Deri: “This unfortunate decision ignores the will of the people, as reflected in the great trust that the public gave to the people’s representatives and their elected officials in my government, when it was clear to everyone that she would serve in the government as a senior minister.”

Deri attended Sunday’s cabinet meeting with the prime minister, defying the High Court. During this meeting, Netanyahu did not fire Deri – as many predicted he would – but instead congratulated the former-health minister on his progress with the “health basket” that includes many new medications and treatments for Israeli citizens. Netanyahu did not address the High Court’s ruling regarding Deri at all.

The ultra-Orthodox former minister responded to Netanyahu’s speech by stating he “hears the sadness in (his) voice.”

“I can tell my friends in the government and the public that it was clear to the prosecution and it was clear to the previous attorney general, Dr. Avichai Mandelblit, that I have no intention and have never had any intention and I have not committed to withdrawing from political life,” Deri continued. “Things were clear on the table from the beginning of the contacts to their end. The words were also said by a representative of the High Courts Department at the hearing.”

“I have an iron commitment to the 400,000 people who voted for me and Shas. No judicial decision will prevent me from serving them and representing them.”

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