(JNS) Israel’s Supreme Court banned Otzma Yehudit candidate Michael Ben-Ari from running in the upcoming national elections—the first time Israel’s highest court has ever prevented a single individual from running in an Israeli election—in opposition to a decision by the Central Elections Committee.
In an 8-1 vote, the Supreme Court voted in favor of a petition to disqualify Ben-Ari due to anti-Arab beliefs and incitement. The court’s decision had been urged by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and represents the first time that the Supreme Court barred an individual, rather than a faction or party, from running.
Under Article 7A of the Basic Law: The Knesset, “incitement to racism” is one of three actions that disqualify a candidate from running for Knesset.
Ben-Ari has insisted that his remarks were taken intentionally out of context and that he is not a racist.
Otzma blasted the decision, with Ben-Ari calling the Supreme Court a “judicial junta that seeks to take over our lives.”