Far Right, Arabs to clash in central election committee

“This is an attempt to disqualify the entire political representation of all Arabs in Israel,” Ayman Odeh said.

August 14, 2019 04:02
1 minute read.
2019 election

Election tickets for the 39 parties who ran in the 2019 Israeli elections with the envelope voters must insert their ballot into, April 9, 2019. (photo credit: BEN BRESKY)

Central Elections Committee hearings at the Knesset on Wednesday are expected to be stormy, as far-Right and Arab candidates attempt to disqualify each other from running in the September 17 election.

The Joint List vowed on Tuesday to defeat a petition by Otzma Yehudit to disqualify their entire list. Joint List leader Ayman Odeh said the petition by Otzma’s top candidate, attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, was racist.

“This is an attempt to disqualify the entire political representation of all Arabs in Israel,” Odeh said. “This racist petition will be heard by a political body that includes parties with campaigns that incite hatred on a daily basis.”

Otzma said that the party would be ready for the hearings with proof that Joint List candidates support terrorism and oppose Israel remaining a Jewish state.

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit opposes disqualifying the Joint List, as well as a petition by Otzma to disqualify Blue and White candidate Yair Lapid, because of recent statements against haredim (ultra-Orthodox).

Otzma will face more of a challenge in defending itself and its candidates from disqualification requests made by Blue and White, the Democratic Union and the Reform movement.

Mandelblit officially relayed a message to the committee on Tuesday night that he is in favor of disqualifying Otzma’s No. 2 candidate, Boston-born Hebron activist Baruch Marzel, and anti-assimilation activist Bentzi Gopstein, who is Otzma’s No. 5 candidate.

“It has been proven once again that the attorney-general works for the Reform movement and represents the extreme Left in the Justice Ministry,” Otzma said in a statement. “He made his statement and leaked it without even hearing our side.”

Gopstein mocked the petitions against him, saying that the Reform movement has been trying to prosecute him for many years and when they failed, they turned to Mandelblit.

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