Coalition Leaders Attend Shas Faction Meeting in Support of Rabbi Deri


By Hamodia Staff

Rabbi Aryeh Deri (speaking) and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attend a Shas party faction meeting, at the Knesset, Monday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he does not intend to “give up” on the services of Shas leader Rabbi Aryeh Deri, whom he was forced to fire from the Cabinet after the High Court ruling.

In a rare move, leading coalition partners — including Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yariv Levin — joined Shas’s Knesset faction meeting to express support for Rabbi Deri.

Levin told Rabbi Deri that “it’s not your private fight” but rather “an issue for the whole public.”

“In a democracy, the one who votes and decides who the government, the ministers, and the lawmakers will be — is the public, the nation,” says Levin.

“A place in which a judge decides who can be a minister is a thing that you can call by many different names; democracy is not one of them. Judicial rule is not the rule of law. In many cases it’s the opposite of the rule of law.”

Netanyahu said that the new coalition “came to save democracy. What is democracy? Rule of the majority and respecting individual rights.”

Likud’s Education Minister Yoav Kisch said that the High Court had made a political decision, observing that if [Rabbi] Deri had decided to join a government led by the opposition, “he would be a senior minister.”

Leaders from every coalition party were in attendance at the Shas meeting.

United Torah Judaism MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said that “the struggle is not Rabbi Deri’s but goes to the root of the matter of how the State of Israel will remain Jewish and democratic. For a year and a half we fought against the government and Rabbi Deri was the central axis that managed the struggle together with everyone. Rabbi Deri, we have come to say that we are in this together with you.”

Religious Zionism leader Minister Betzalel Smotrich said that by firing Rabbi Deri, the court is taking on the whole coalition. “We’re all here for you and at your side, with the understanding that the fight is for all of us.”

In his own remarks, Rabbi Deri pledged that “the coalition continues, the government continues. We won’t let Israel fall.”

He explained that his decision to remain in the coalition despite being forced to resign from the ministries was because he’s committed to promoting “governance” and “to respect the definitive Jewish identity of Israel” and to continue fighting for a better life for the poorer sectors of the population.

“I am here because I have a real obligation,” he said.

He also castigated the High Court for the peremptory manner in which it issued the ruling, not giving the government an earlier indication that his ministerial appointments would be nullified.

“No one warned the prime minister that he was working under an ‘extreme lack of reasonableness,’” Deri charged, referencing the High Court’s basis for disqualifying him, despite the fact that his appointments were “discussed for a full month.”

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