Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90
Im Tirtzu activists protest in front of the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, September 7, 2015.

The Central Elections Committee on Sunday night rejected a petition filed by the leftist Meretz party against NGO Im Tirtzu, asking the committee to issue an injunction against the group for violating Israel’s election laws in acting as the “executive arm” of the Likud party.

Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel, Chairman of the Elections Committee, ruled that Meretz provided “no basis of evidence” for its claims, and that Im Tirtzu supports “general ideas, and not specifically a list of candidates for the Knesset elections.”

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The Meretz petition came in response to a large campaign launched by Im Tirtzu in December 2019, which called to reform the “unchecked and overreaching” judicial system in Israel.

Justice Hendel noted that many of the publications attributed to Im Tirtzu by Meretz were not in fact publicized by Im Tirtzu. Hendel also criticized Meretz for submitting its petition only five days ahead of the elections.

Im Tirtzu said it was delighted that the “disgraceful attempt by the far-left Meretz party to stop the largest Zionist movement in Israel failed miserably.”

Established in 2006, Im Tirtzu’s stated mission is to renew “Zionist discourse, Zionist thinking and Zionist ideology to ensure the future of the Jewish nation and the State of Israel.”

In 2017, the group operated 15 student cells with about 1,000 dues paying members and about 5,000 supporters.

Im Tirtzu’s legal counsel, Eran Ben-Ari, called the Meretz petition a “spiteful attempt to interfere with the legal and democratic activities of Im Tirtzu,” and promised: “We will continue to work hard and ensure that such attempts will fail in the future as well.”

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