In an apparent act of fear and hysteria, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition is attempting to get the nationalist faction of Otzma Yehudit disqualified by Israel’s Central Elections Committee from running in the upcoming elections.
With Netanyahu’s help, Otzma Yehudit had managed to secure an agreement to run on a joint list, “the Union of Right-Wing parties,” with the other two nationalist factions of Jewish Home and National Union. Netanyahu’s challengers and political enemies now want to undemocratically undo that achievement.
The movement to ban Otzma Yehudit from the upcoming elections was launched earlier this week by the small, leftist Meretz party. In its petition to Israel’s Central Elections Committee, the Meretz party claimed that Otzma Yehudit has “acted in a way that would incite the public into contemptible and unacceptable racism.” The defunct Kach party, dubbed by pundits as the forebearers of Otzma Yehudit, was banned in 1988 on similar grounds, accused of violating Israel’s Election Law ban on “incitement to racism.”
Israel’s Central Elections Committee is composed of representatives from all parties in the outgoing Knesset. Meretz’s petition very quickly garnered the prerequisite number of 12 committee members to force a discussion on the motion.
The “Blue and White” faction, a joint list composed of three smaller parties and led by “deep state” figures, was the most recent electoral list to announce its backing for the petition. Only one of the three parties, Yesh Atid, is an existing party in the outgoing Knesset and therefore, the only faction on Blue and White’s list that could sign on to the petition. Blue and White is currently polling higher in numbers than Netanyahu’s Likud party, and thus poses the greatest threat to unseating Netanyahu as prime minister.
The Labor party, which dominated the first 30 years of Israeli politics but is now polling in single digits, also joined the bandwagon along with the Joint Arab List. Otzma Yehudit however, remains unfazed.
“It turns out that Benny Gantz (leader of Blue and White’s “Israel Resilience” faction) wants to set up a government with the votes of the terrorists’ representatives in the Knesset,” Otzma Yehudit stated according to Haaretz, making an implicit reference to collusion with the Joint Arab List. “And he’s winking at them by joining the disqualification request. But it won’t help. The unification of the right-wing parties was the surprise of the election.”