No changes to United Right-Wing list

Elections committee rejects request by Union of Right-Wing Parties to alter Knesset slate after Supreme Court disqualified candidate.

Hezki Baruch,

Itamar Ben-Gvir
Itamar Ben-Gvir
Yonatan Sindel/FLash90

The Israeli Central Elections Committee has rejected a request by the Union of Right-Wing Parties to alter its Knesset slate after the Supreme Court disqualified one of its candidates from running in the election.

Last week, the Supreme Court barred former MK Michael Ben-Ari from running for the Knesset, even after the Central Elections Committee voted 16 to 15 to permit his candidacy.

The court also reversed the committee’s decisions to disqualify the United Arab list-Balad ticket, and Ofer Cassif, a Hebrew University professor running on the community party Hadash’s joint ticket with Ta’al.

The court’s decision to bar Ben-Ari stripped the Otzma Yehudit faction of its ‘safe’ seat on the joint Union of Right-Wing Parties list.

The Union of Right-Wing Parties, a joint ticket of the Jewish Home, National Union, and Otzma Yehudit factions, gave Otzma three slots, including two realistic slots, the fifth and eighth spots, and a third, largely symbolic spot – 40th.

Of the three seats, only Ben-Ari’s – the fifth slot – was considered ‘safe’, with the Union regularly polling at or above five seats. The party is currently averaging seven seats in the polls.

Following Ben-Ari’s disqualification, Otzma pressed the Union to back its demand that the Central Election Committee approve its request to bump up the two remaining Otzma candidates, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Yitzhak Vaserlof, to the fifth and eighth spots respectively.

Because of the Supreme Court’s interference in the Knesset list, Otzma argued, the party should be permitted to rearrange its candidates’ positions even after the February 21st deadline.

On Sunday, however, the committee announced that it had accepted Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s recommendation that they reject the request and not permit any modifications to the party’s Knesset list.

The Union of Right-Wing Parties blasted the decision, and vowed to take their demand to the Supreme Court, even as it seemed to predict the court would also reject their request.

“As expected, Justice [Hanan] Meltzer has fallen in love with procedure, while missing the real point. Unfortunately, he too is toeing the line set out by Mandelblit, who adopted the position of [state prosecutor] Shai Nitzan. We will appeal to the Supreme Court, so that they too can toe the line.”

“Mandelblit, Nitzan, Meltzer, Supreme Court judges – thank you. Because of you, the voters will give their response via the ballot boxes, enabling us – in spite of you and your wrath – to become stronger, and we will deal with the left-wing justice system in Israel.”