High Court Bans Jewish Power’s Ben-Ari from Running in Elections

Michael Ben Ari, leader of the Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) party. (Photo: via Twitter)

Israel‘s Supreme Court has banned the leader of a far-right ultranationalist party from running in next month’s elections.

Reversing the decisions of Israel’s elections committee earlier this month, the court ruled on Sunday to bar Michael Ben-Ari, the leader of the Jewish Power party, in an 8-1 vote.

Ben-Ari has come under fire for comments he made about Palestinian citizens of Israel, which Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit previously said amount to “incitement to racism” and “calling for a violent renunciation of the Arab population’s rights”.

These include a May 2018 speech in which Ben-Ari called Israeli Arabs “enemies from within”, according to the Haaretz website.

The court ruled in favor of appellants who argued Ben-Ari had displayed anti-Arab racism, Reuters news agency reported, citing a statement by the court.

Ben-Ari condemned the ruling, according to local media.

He was quoted as saying by the Haaretz:

“There is a legal junta that seeks to take over our lives. It’s not a democracy.”

Other members of Jewish Power remain eligible to run.

The court upheld the candidacy of Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right lawyer and fellow leader of Jewish Power.

According to Jewish Power, Ben-Ari’s disqualification marks the first time a candidate approved by the committee has been banned from standing in elections.

(AJE, PC, Social Media)

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