Newspapers from the ultra-Orthodox community slammed the High Court’s judgment on Thursday morning, expressing outrage over the judges’ decision to deny ministerial appointments to Shas leader Aryeh Deri, a verdict which deprived him of his seat in government.
These newspapers of the written press, which are very popular in the segments of the population haredi who shun the use of the internet, suggest in particular that the magistrates opposed the will of the people – echoing a campaign theme that was launched by the Shas formation on Wednesday evening.
The headline chosen by the popular daily Yated Neeman was “The High Court Against Democracy”. He quoted “coalition leaders” who claimed that this judgment was “a huge injustice” and he also quoted the leader of the faction haredi Degel HaTorah, embedded in the United Torah Judaism alliance, who said the court is “again intervening in matters that don’t concern him.”
Receive our free daily edition by email so you don’t miss any of the best news Free registration!
In an unsurprising but bombastic judgment on Wednesday afternoon, the High Court ruled that Deri’s cabinet seat was “unreasonable in the extreme” in a judgment taken at a almost unanimously, ten votes to one. The Shas leader has been convicted of corruption multiple times and judges noted he promised a court last year he would quit politics as part of a plea bargain that came settle tax evasion proceedings against him. He had finally received a suspended prison sentence thanks to this promise.
The ruling by Israel’s highest court has sparked anger among ultra-Orthodox politicians and many of their supporters who say the court sought to undermine the votes of the 392,000 Israelis who filed a petition. ballot for Shas in the ballot box during the November 1 ballot.
For its part, the daily magazine Bakehila wrote on the front page: “Faced with the destructiveness of the High Court, the last resort is ‘Deri as Prime Minister’. Under its main headline, the newspaper added: “Those who don’t want Deri in a high ministerial position will have him as alternate prime minister.”
Some coalition members are reportedly considering keeping Deri in the cabinet by appointing him alternate prime minister through a complicated Knesset maneuver, though such an appointment could lead to legal difficulties and legal challenges.
In one, the daily Hamvaser noted that Deri’s appointment had been barred by magistrates – adding that it was yet “another outrageous display of political intervention” by the High Court. A front-page editorial also called the judgment “a bad and unreasonable decision in the extreme” – echoing the wording used by the judges in their verdict on the Shas chief’s appointment.
Haderech, the newspaper mouthpiece of Shas, for its part, made a slightly surprising headline, headlining: “The High Court against the people of Israel”. An article describes the judgment as an “unfortunate decision” and hails Deri, “a strong and courageous man”.
The court’s decision puts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an awkward position – he finds himself forced by the judges to sack the head of a party he desperately needs to stay in government.
Wednesday evening, a few hours after the judgment, Deri indicated that he would not accept a soft start. “When the door is closed in your face, you go out the window. And if they decide to close the window, then we will break the ceiling, with the help of God”, he declared, swearing to “continue the revolution which was started by our predecessors with energy and a devotion that will be even greater”.
Deri, who had been jailed after being convicted of corruption in the past, pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 2022 as part of a plea bargain. He received a suspended prison sentence and had to resign from the Knesset. A key ally of Netanyahu’s right-wing, far-right and religious government, Deri returned to the Knesset as the 11-seat leader of Shas following elections in November. Last month, the coalition pushed through legislation that opened the door for him to become a minister. He had inherited in the wake of the Ministry of the Interior and that of Health.
According to reports that emerged on Wednesday evening, the government is expected to sack Deri in the coming days and try to pass, through a fast-track procedure, legislation that would allow him to return, even if the judgment categorical decision from the High Court may leave little recourse.
In addition to the legal notion of “reasonableness,” the judges indicated that Deri could not go back on the promise made on his withdrawal from the Knesset and, more broadly, on his withdrawal from political life as part of the negotiation. sentence, evoking the “Estoppel principle”, which specifies that a party cannot take advantage of a position contrary to that which it has previously taken in the context of legal proceedings.
The use of this “Estoppel principle” by the judges could prevent this decision from being circumvented by the government, even if it advances legislation to cancel the legal concept of “reasonableness” to allow Deri to retain his seat in the cabinet.