Moments after the High Court of Justice disqualified its leader from a cabinet position, the Shas party issued a statement accusing the court of making a “political” decision that undermined the will of Shas’ 400,000 voters.
Today, the court has effectively ruled the election meaningless. The court’s decision is political and stained with excessive unreasonableness,” the statement read.
Shas leader Aryeh Deri, a repeat financial offender, was recently convicted of tax offenses last January and left the Knesset as part of a plea deal in which he pledged to retire from political life. Instead, he returned to the Knesset at the head of Shas’ 11 seats in November, and in December the coalition accelerated legislation to clear his way for Interior and Health Ministry posts.
“The entire Shas movement is horrified by the arbitrary and unprecedented decision of the High Court of Justice, contrary to law and justice, and considers it a serious violation of the right to vote and to be elected, which is the lifeblood of democracy,” Shas’ statement continues. The party also vowed to weigh its next steps, promising to consult with its rabbis on how to address Court decision.
Earlier this month, Justice Minister Yariv Levin proposed legislation to overturn the reasonableness test by which the court overturned Deri’s appointments, and the ruling is likely to pressure the coalition to accelerate this, or another solution, to restore Deri’s status as minister.
The decision also comes in the context of a broader judicial reform battle backed by Shas, and is the culmination of decades for the Mizrahi ultra-Orthodox party bemoaning bypassing a court that does not reflect its way of life.
“Large segments of Israeli society today feel excluded by the court,” Shas said in a statement.
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