JERUSALEM, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired a senior cabinet member with a criminal record on Sunday, complying with a Supreme Court ruling, even as he carried out controversial judicial reforms. following that would curb his powers.
According to an official transcript, Netanyahu told him to remove him from the interior and health ministries during a weekly cabinet meeting, pledging to seek “every legal means” to keep Ariya Deri in public office in the future. Is.
Barak Seri, a Derry confidant, told Army Radio early Sunday that the portfolios would remain with other members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish party Shas as it remains in the coalition.
The Supreme Court last week ordered Netanyahu to dismiss Derry, citing a 2022 plea bargain sentence for tax fraud.
The decision sparked a stormy debate in Israel – accompanied by nationwide protests – over proposed reforms that Netanyahu says will restore balance between the branches of government but critics say This will harm judicial independence.
A poll by the Israel Hayom newspaper found 35 percent support for Netanyahu’s bid to shake up the system of bench appointments, with 45 percent opposed. Parliament had just 26 percent support for his government’s bid to overrule some Supreme Court decisions, with a one-vote majority.
In his cabinet statement, Netanyahu called Deri’s decision “regrettable” and “indifferent to the will of the people.”
Less than a month old, a religious-nationalist alliance emerged elsewhere as a far-right colleague boycotted a cabinet meeting in protest at Friday’s demolition of a small settlement outpost set up in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli Defense Minister Yves Galant, a member of Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party, ordered the outpost demolished because he did not have a building permit – over the objections of the religious Zionist party, which sought to delay the decision.
The incident pitted Galant against religious Zionist leader Bezalel Smotrich, who holds some cabinet responsibilities for West Bank settlements under a coalition agreement with Netanyahu.
“This (settlements) is an important issue for our participation in government,” Religious Zionist National Mission Minister Ort Sturk told Israel’s Kan Radio. He declined to say what steps the party might take next.
In solidarity with Religious Zionism, fellow far-right coalition party Jewish Power said it would demand Israel delay the long-delayed opening of Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin Palestinian camp in a key West Bank area near Jerusalem. The victim should execute an evacuation.
World powers have urged Israel not to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, fearing another potential setback to efforts to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Most countries consider Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal.
Written by Dan Williams, by Raisa Kasulowski and Frances Carey
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