Court disqualifies Marzel, Gopstein from running

The judges ruled that Marzel and Gopstein had crossed a line into incitement to racism in past statements against Arabs.

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August 25, 2019 22:48
1 minute read.
Court disqualifies Marzel, Gopstein from running

Baruch Marzel argues with Palestinian tour guide in Hebron, Rabbi Bentzi Gopstein. (photo credit: ARIK SULTAN/TOVAH LAZAROFF)

The Supreme Court decided late Sunday to disqualify the Knesset candidacy of Hebron activist Baruch Marzel and anti-assimilation activist Bentzi Gopstein of the far-right party Otzma Yehudit Party.

This was the second time the court has ever decided to overturn a decision by the Central Elections Committee to not disqualify a candidate. The first incident came ahead of the April 9 election when the court disqualified Otzma candidate Michael Ben-Ari.

The judges ruled that Marzel and Gopstein had crossed a line into incitement to racism in past statements against Arabs. Gopstein’s Lehava organization seeks to prevent intermarriage and discourages hiring Arabs. Marzel was second on the list and Gopstein fifth.

The appeal to disqualify Marzel and Gopstein was filed by the Reform Movement and the Blue and White, Democratic Union and Labor parties.

The Reform Movement called the decision “a significant step in the uncompromising fight against racism and calls for violence.” Labor praised the court for not permitting Marzel and Gopstein to take advantage of freedom of expression to spread hate.

Otzma Yehudit responded that the decision would help the party cross the electoral threshold. Gopstein called the court “a branch of Meretz.”

The court rejected appeals to also reject the entire Otzma list and its leader, attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, as well the Joint List.

Yamina slammed the court for not disqualifying the Joint List, saying that the judges proved that they are disconnected from the public.

“It was proven once again that defending minorities, equality and the right to vote and be elected belongs only for Arab Knesset members who hate Israel and support terrorism,” Yamina said.


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