On Thursday morning, a full bench of eleven Supreme Court justices convened to rule on a petition against the appointment of Shas party head Aryeh Deri as Health and Interior Minister.

Opening the hearing, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut summarized the issues to be discussed, dividing them into three. Firstly, the alleged abuse of the authority of the legislature (i.e. the Knesset) in amending the country's Basic Laws in order to enable a person who had been handed down a probation sentence (i.e. not to spend time behind bars) to be appointed a government minister. Secondly, the question of how "reasonable" such an appointment is, given Deri's criminal past convictions. Thirdly, how Deri's plea bargain and agreement to retire from political life until the next elections (i.e. the November elections) interact with the current legislative amendments.

Arguing in favor of the petitions against Deri, Attorney Helman said, "If it walks like a duck, it's clear that it's a duck. There's no doubt that the amendments are personal in nature, designed to enable Deri to serve as a minister. We're changing Basic Laws in order to overturn a ruling in a criminal case."

Helman added that when, seven years ago, a similar question arose regarding Deri's ministerial appointment, he only narrowly escaped being barred from office due to his criminal convictions. Court President Hayut interjected that, "Deri's past crimes have been erased," the implication being that they should not be given any weight during current considerations.

Meanwhile, outside the Court building, dozens of lawyers clad in their legal robes are protesting against Deri's appointment, alongside members of organizations against the appoinment, and representatives from the Movement for Quality Government. The protesters also plan to hold a mock signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Assaf Agmon, one of the organizers of the protest, said, "Yesterday, war was declared against democracy. We have come here to say in a clear voice: This is an emergency and the Deri Law is the first test. A criminal should not serve as a government minister."

Prior to the hearing, Attorney-General Gali Beharav-Miara presented her position to the petitions, noting that the questions arising from the case are weighty indeed, including the authority of an Israeli government to amend Basic Laws, which are the approximate equivalent of Israel's constitution.

Despite her reservations, the Attorney-General concluded that the petitions should be rejected, as an alleged abuse of the authority of the Knesset to enact Basic Laws is not sufficient basis for the Court to intervene.