Shas leader Aryeh Deri on Tuesday appointed two Knesset members from his party to temporarily fill in for him as ministers of the interior and health, days after the High Court of Justice ruled that his appointment was inappropriate in light of his past financial crimes and apparently broken pledge to leave political life.

Deri appointed current Religious Affairs Minister Michael Malkieli as acting interior minister, and Yoav Ben-Tzur, who is a minister within the Welfare Ministry, as health minister.

Acting ministers can serve for a period of three months before a permanent appointment must be made. Under the coalition agreements, the interior and health ministries belong to the Shas party.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid criticized the step, saying that Israelis deserved “full-time ministers.”

“The Israeli public doesn’t need to pay the price for the machinations and legal problems of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and Deri,” he said.

The temporary nature of the appointments indicates that Deri is confident of soon returning to the posts, as he and other coalition heads vowed on Monday.

In a rare move, members of all the coalition parties joined Shas’s weekly Knesset faction meeting to express support for Deri.

Speaking at the meeting, Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to return Deri to the government, just a day after he was forced to fire him from his roles.

Every single Shas voter knew that they were voting for Deri on the assumption that he would serve as a minister in the government, said Netanyahu. Therefore, “harm has been done to the principle of the will of the majority, and we must fix this,” he said, pledging to restore Deri to the cabinet table “where he belongs, as soon as possible.”

The premier connected Deri’s dismissal to the broader fight against the judiciary, saying his government was facing “a flood of false propaganda” against its sweeping reform plans, “but we won’t let them win.”

At the same meeting, Deri attacked the judicial system, claiming the government had not had an earlier indication that his ministerial appointments would be shot down.

“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.”

On Sunday Netanyahu said he had made his decision to fire Deri “with a heavy heart.”

Deri will retain his mostly honorific vice premier title, his spokesman confirmed. It is unclear whether this will give Deri the ability to attend cabinet meetings as an observer.

Shas has pushed for Netanyahu to find a way to bring Deri back into the hardline government.

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Hinting at plans to return, Deri temporarily fills vacated ministerial posts

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24.01.2023

Shas leader Aryeh Deri on Tuesday appointed two Knesset members from his party to temporarily fill in for him as ministers of the interior and health, days after the High Court of Justice ruled that his appointment was inappropriate in light of his past financial crimes and apparently broken pledge to leave political life.

Deri appointed current Religious Affairs Minister Michael Malkieli as acting interior minister, and Yoav Ben-Tzur, who is a minister within the Welfare Ministry, as health minister.

Acting ministers can serve for a period of three months before a permanent appointment must be made. Under the coalition agreements, the interior and health ministries belong to the Shas party.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid criticized the step, saying that Israelis deserved “full-time ministers.”

“The Israeli public doesn’t need to pay the price for the machinations and legal problems of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and........

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