Jerusalem, Jan 19 (SocialNews.XYZ) Israel's Supreme Court ruled that a key member in the country's new extreme-right government cannot not serve as minister because of his criminal conviction.
On Wednesday, the court said that Aryeh Deri, leader of the ultra-Orthodox party of Shas and a key ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been disqualified from serving as a Minister because of his conviction of tax fraud, reports Xinhua news agency.
Deri is currently serving as Health Minister and Interior Minister and he is also Deputy Prime Minister.
After the first half of the government's term, Deri will take control of the Finance Ministry as well.
The ruling could cause a political crisis for Netanyahu's hard-right coalition government and is likely to escalate the rift over a controversial reform plan to weaken the top court.
The Supreme Court noted Deri's two previous criminal convictions in 2000 over bribery, fraud and breach of trust committed during his term as Interior Minister.
He was sentenced to three years in prison before being released after serving 22 months.
Deri made a political comeback and retook the leadership of the Shas party in 2013.
His appointment as a Minister "radically deviates from the sphere of reasonability", the court wrote in its decision.
"Therefore, the Prime Minister must remove Deri from his position," the decision read.
Netanyahu didn't immediately comment on the ruling.
Shas condemned the ruling, saying in a statement that the Supreme Court "overturned" the will of "400,000 people who voted for Deri" in the November 2022 elections.
Yakov Margi, a lawmaker with Shas, told the state-owned Kan Radio before the ruling that if Deri will not be re-appointed as a minister, the party will leave the coalition, potentially causing Netanyahu to lose his majority in Parliament and sparking a new political crisis.