The Elections Committee voted 17-16 on Thursday to ban right-wing activist Baruch Marzel from running for the Knesset as a candidate of the new Yachad party, headed by Eli Yishai.
Marzel was labeled a racist, but the narrow margin to toss him out of the elections contrasted with the 27-6 vote earlier in the day to ban Arab Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi from seeking re-election.
The United Arab List will appeal to the Supreme Court to overthrow the committee decision against Zoabi, and Marzel also is likely to appeal.
It will be surprising if the court does not overturn the committee decision. Once the committee has the authority to decide who is a terrorist and who is a racist, the Knesset might as well close down.
There have been grounds for jailing Zoabi for her anti-Israeli activities, but no one has had the political courage to do so.
Marzel is an easier target because right-wing extremists usually see the other side of prison before left-wing extremists. Marzel previously has been handed a suspended 12-month jail sentence.
He has reportedly called on the IDF to target left-wing Uri Avnery, who would have fallen off the left side of Planet Earth long ago if it were flat. Peace Now chairman Yariv Oppenheimer last year filed a complaint with police against Marzel for alleged death threats by Marzel’s followers.
Regarding homosexuals, he has said Israel should conduct a “holy war” against them.
Yachad has placed Marzel on the fourth spot in its list of candidates, guaranteeing him a seat in the Knesset if the party passes the minimum number of votes required for party representation.
The party jumped in the polls the past week. After having been on the borderline of entering the Knesset, surveys now indicate Yachad will win five seats, and one new poll released on Thursday rates it with six seats.
After the Election Committee decision, Marzel said, “The left-wing is gagging mouths. It has been proven that my positions are not racist. We are not afraid and will continue to act for the Land and People of Israeli and the Torah.”
He sounds like the national religious version of some Haredi MKs who know they speak for God, and his candidacy in the Yachad party was blessed by several national religious rabbis pulling the strings behind the scenes.
If the leftists want “anyone but Bibi,” a select group of rabbis want “anyone but Naftali Bennett, who broke the taboo of the old-guard National Religious Party and brought secular nationalists into his new Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party.