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Likud joins ‘racist effort’ to have Joint List disqualified

Israeli far-right Otzma Yehudit supporters [Twitter]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party has joined the far-right Otzma Yehudit party in its appeal to the Supreme Court against the Central Election Committee’s decision to allow the Joint List to run in next month’s election.

According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, Likud joined the appeal yesterday, and the case will be argued in court tomorrow. The judges must decide by Sunday.

“The Likud is not opposed to having Arabs in the Knesset, as long as they don’t incite to violence or support terror as Balad has in the past,” Likud spokesperson Rachel Broyde said. Likud argues that all the members of the Joint List running with Balad are guilty by association.

Otzma, meanwhile, has claimed in its appeal that all the four parties making up the Joint List “support terrorism”.

Otzma leader Itamar Ben-Gvir said the appeal includes comments made by Joint List leader Ayman Odeh in a television interview that the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement could lead Israel to take “historic decisions against the interests of our people”.

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“After the evidence that we submitted today to the Supreme Court, there is no room for confusion: MKs who support Iran and visit terrorists in jail not only have no place in the Knesset but also have no place in the State of Israel,” said Ben-Gvir following submission of the appeal.

“The time has come for justice to be done, and to remove the terrorism supporters from the Knesset.”

In response, the Joint List accused Netanyahu of wanting “a pure Knesset, with only Jews”.

“We will make sure that the legacy of Netanyahu will be not only his indictments but also his endorsement of [late far-Right Rabbi Meir] Kahane,” the statement added in reference to the rabbi whose ideology inspired Baruch Goldstein’s 1994 massacre at Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque, which left 29 Muslim worshippers dead and scores wounded.

Legal rights centre Adalah, meanwhile, slammed Likud for participating in “a racist effort” to prevent political representation for Palestinian citizens.

“The request they submitted is not based on any reason that would allow the list to be disqualified in accordance with the law, and on a series of distorted proofs and racist interpretations whose basis is the revocation of the rights of Arabs to demand equal citizenship,” Adalah stated.

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