Reform movement asks to disqualify far Right candidates

The Reform Movement succeeded in getting Otzma candidate Michael Ben-Ari disqualified ahead of the April election but did not succeed in banning Otzma as a whole or Ben-Gvir.

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August 9, 2019 06:14
2 minute read.
Itamar Ben-Gvir

Itamar Ben-Gvir from the Otzma Yehudit party, attends a hearing at Israel's Supreme Court in Jerusalem March 13, 2019. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)

The Central Elections Committee should prevent Otzma Yehudit candidates Itamar Ben-Gvir, Baruch Marzel and Bentzi Gopstein from running in the September 17 election, the Reform Movement petitioned the committee on Thursday.

The Reform Movement succeeded in getting Otzma candidate Michael Ben-Ari disqualified ahead of the April 9 election but did not succeed in banning Otzma as a whole or Ben-Gvir. The head of the movement in Israel, Democratic Union Knesset candidate Rabbi Gilad Kariv, said he expects more success this time.

“We have a good chance with both Marzel and Gopstein, and we have new evidence on Ben-Gvir that we didn’t have before,” Kariv said. “Last time, the committee and the Supreme Court said Ben-Gvir was close to the red line but told us our evidence was too old. So this time we concentrated our appeal on his recent statements that prove he is loyal to the path of [the late extremist Rabbi Meir] Kahane and continues his incitement to racism all the time.”

Asked whether his petition would be seen differently this time, because Ben-Gvir is a realistic candidate for Knesset, Kariv said his movement encourages people to be involved politically across the political map and has always opposed racism.

Marzel told The Jerusalem Post that he saw the petition against him as a compliment.

“The Left sees how much support we have, so they realize that if they don’t disqualify us, we will get in to the Knesset,” Marzel said. “If they thought we didn’t have a chance, they wouldn’t bother presenting the request.”

Marzel condemned the timing of the request, so soon after the murder of 19-year-old Dvir Sorek.

“The fact that on the day of a cruel murder of a Jew, the Reform Movement wants to disqualify Jews for fighting for the people of Israel in their land shows that they are disconnected from the people of Israel,” he said.

The Democratic Union and Blue and White also requested Gopstein’s disqualification, while the Democratic Union asked to disqualify the entire Otzma Yehudit list by Thursday night’s deadline.

Otzma requested the disqualification of Blue and White’s number two candidate, Yair Lapid, because of what the party called his incitement against haredim, and the Joint List, because of what they called their support for terrorism and their efforts to destroy the country.

Hearings on the disqualifications will take place on Wednesday, August 14.


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