Israeli Ambassador to Canada resigns

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Israeli ambassador to Canada resigns mission

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday in Jerusalem.

Israel's ambassador to Canada has said he intends to leave his post soon after a change of government in his country.

This decision by Ambassador Ronen Hoffman comes after Yael German, Israel's Ambassador to France, announced in late December that she was resigning in protest against the new administration led by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, who returned to power with a government coalition described as the most right-wing in the country's history.

“With the transition to the new government and to a different policy in Israel, my personal and professional integrity has asked to shorten my term and return to Israel this summer. I will continue to serve the State of Israel here in Canada with the same passion and pleasure until a replacement is appointed later this year.

— Ronen Hoffman, Ambassador

Mr. Hoffman, who was appointed to the post just over a year ago, did not specify what he meant by different policy. A spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Ottawa said Sunday he had no further information to add.

Joe Roberts , who chairs the board of Jewish organization JSpaceCanada, said Hoffman's announcement was diplomatic but clear.

I think given the increasingly complex and deepening relationship between Israel and Canada, that's important, said Roberts, whose organization describes itself as a Canadian voice for progressive Jewish values ​​and for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

This should be a clear message to the Canadian Jewish community: if someone who is an ambassador for Israel is willing to resign and say it goes against their integrity, that means that x27;as Jews, with the relationship we have with the State of Israel, it is time for us too to raise our voices.

M. Roberts calls on the Canadian government to commit to having no official relations with the most extreme elements of the ruling coalition.

In addition, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu was forced, under pressure from the courts, to dismiss government number two, Arie Dery, from office on Sunday, convicted of tax evasion.

Leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shass party, the second party in Mr. Netanyahu's coalition, Arié Dery was appointed Minister of Health and the Interior in the government formed at the end of December in the wake of the legislative elections on November 1.

However, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Israel invalidated his appointment and recalled that Mr. Dery had announced in early 2022 his retirement from political life to avoid prison after his conviction for tax evasion.

Arié Déry, Israeli Minister of Interior and Health as well as leader of the Shass party, leaves his home before going to a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on January 22, 2023.

It is with heavy hearts and great sorrow […] that we are forced to remove you from your post in government, Mr. Netanyahu said during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem in the presence of Mr. Dery.

He added that the judgment ignored the will of the people and that he would work to find a legal way for Mr. Dery to contribute to the service. of the State of Israel.

Mr. Netanyahu is himself on trial for corruption in several cases and his trial is ongoing.

In Israel, the Prime Minister does not have any judicial immunity, but he does not have to resign or withdraw for the duration of his trial.

At the end of December, the deputies voted a text, dubbed the Dery law by the press, which authorizes a person convicted of a crime, but not sentenced to imprisonment, to serve in government.

The Supreme Court criticized this law and said it believed that the appointment of Mr. Dery was in serious contradiction with the fundamental principles of the rule of law.

Tutelary figure of the Shass party, accustomed to making and breaking coalitions since the 1980s, Mr. Dery has been a minister in many governments.

In 1993, the Supreme Court had already demanded that x27;he was removed from his post as Minister of the Interior after being indicted for corruption.

In 2000, he was sentenced to three years in prison and released after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

I intend to continue to lead the Shass movement, to participate in the meetings of the leaders of the factions of the coalition and to help promote the important judicial reforms that this government was elected to promote, Arié Déry said in a statement on Sunday.

With information from Agence  France-Presse, and La Canadian Presse

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