Michael Ben-Ari, the leader of the Israeli patriotic movement Otzma Yehudit, has been banned from contesting next month’s Israeli elections in a 8-1 ruling by the left-wing judges that dominate the Supreme Court of Israel, the Jewish Chronicle reports.
The Court’s decision reversed that of Israel’s election committee to allow Ben-Ari to run, after Israel’s deep state Attorney General, Avichai Mandelbilt, recommended that he be banned from running.
Otzma Yehudit stands for preserving Israel’s Jewish character, promoting traditional values, and maintaining law and order. It is part of the Union of Right-Wing Parties (URWP), an alliance of three religious nationalist parties that was formed at the behest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month. The decision thus can be seen as a blow towards Netanyahu himself, who has been indicted by the Attorney General in a case that is widely expected to reach the Supreme Court.
As part of the original deal to form the URWP, Otzma Yehudit candidates were guaranteed the 5th and 8th places on the list. Since Ben-Ari, who took the 5th slot on the URWP’s electoral list, has now been removed, the rest of the candidates beyond the 5th slot have subsequently been pushed up one slot, with the other Otzma candidate, Itamar Ben-Gvir, occupying the 7th place. However, they see having just one seat on the list as insufficient to satisfy the promises made to them when forming the list. This is especially concerning since the party is currently polling between 6 and 7 seats, and they could well end up with no seats at all. As a result, Otzma has requested further concessions from the two other parties in the URWP – the Jewish Home and the National Union – as well as from Netanyahu’s governing Likud. Otzma are demanding that Ben-Gvir be appointed to the Judicial Selection Committee and be allowed to chair the Constitution Committee in the next Knesset. Furthermore, they are seeking the appointment of former Jewish National Front leader Baruch Marzel as a minister in the next Netanyahu government.
The Court also reversed two other decisions by the election committee targeted at left-wing and Islamic extremists. Consequently, the electoral alliance between the Hamas-linked Islamist Ra’am party and the left-wing Arab nationalist Balad, as well as the candidacy of far-left Jewish activist Ofer Cassif, were both approved to run for the Knesset.
By disqualifying patriots while deeming supporters of Hamas and radical leftists who seek the destruction of Israel as kosher, the Israeli judicial establishment has shown itself to be a fifth column within the Jewish state.