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Israel Attorney General backs election exclusion for Jewish Power leader

Michael Ben Ari, the leader of the Jewish Power party on 23 December 2010 [GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images]
Michael Ben Ari, the leader of the Jewish Power party on 23 December 2010 [GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images]

Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has backed an electoral ban for Michael Ben Ari, the leader of the Jewish Power party, on the grounds of incitement to racism, reported Haaretz.

However, Mandelblit “said that Ben Ari’s party colleague, Itamar Ben-Gvir, should be allowed to run”. Jewish Power is part of a joint ticket known as the Union of Right-Wing Parties.

Mandelblit detailed his views in an opinion submitted to the Central Elections Committee, Haaretz reported, which is discussing three requests to disqualify Jewish Power.

The attorney general cited a number of recent quotations from Ben Ari in support of his view.

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In November 2017, for instance, at an annual memorial for Rabbi Meir Kahane, Ben Ari gave a speech in which he said of Israeli Arabs, “Let’s give them another 100,000 dunams [of land] and affirmative action, maybe they’ll love us. In the end, yes, they’ll love us when we’re slaughtered.”

READ: Why the outrage? ‘Jewish Power’ party is the new norm in Israeli politics

In May 2018, Ben Ari gave another speech in which he said, “The Arabs of Haifa aren’t different in any way from the Arabs of Gaza. How are they different? In that they’re here, enemies from within. They’re waging war against us here, within the state. And this is called – it has a name – it’s called a fifth column. We need to call the dog by its name. They’re our enemies. They want to destroy us.”

A disqualification petition against Jewish Power was submitted last week, after it reached the 12 required signatures from members of the Central Elections Committee, a committee comprised of representatives of all the parties in the outgoing Knesset.

“The Central Elections Committee is a political organization that makes decisions by majority vote rather than on a legal basis,” said Haaretz, whose “decisions can be appealed to the Supreme Court.”

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