The Central Elections Committee decided on Wednesday not to disqualify the Hadash list for the Knesset, but did disqualify its sole Jewish candidate, Ofer Cassif, who was placed in the fifth spot on the list.
The decision was made by a majority of 15 to 10. Representatives of the Kulanu and Hatnua parties were absent from the discussion.
The Yisrael Beytenu and Otzma Yehudit parties submitted the request for disqualification.
Cassif, a Hebrew University professor who replaced MK Dov Khenin as Hadash’s sole Jewish representative, has drawn criticism for his comparisons of the Israeli leaders and even the State of Israel to the Nazi party and Nazi-era Germany.
Cassif once shared a Facebook post calling Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (New Right) “neo-Nazi scum”.
In 2017, he was recorded during a class comparing the State of Israel to Nazi Germany, warning that Israel was “on a slippery slope” to fascism.
MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu) responded to the decision to disqualify Cassif and said, "Ofer Cassif and ten people like him will not succeed in their unholy mission to desecrate the state and turn it into another multi-national Arab state in the Middle East. Israeli democracy is robust, it knows how to deal with harsh and outrageous expressions. But that too has a limit.”
"Today we have determined that in Israeli democracy, those who deny the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state will not be part of the democratic game. We prevented the next Zoabi from entering the Knesset,” continued Forer.
The Otzma Yehudit party said, "Common sense prevailed at the Elections Committee. There is no room for a person who rejects the Jewish character of the state and is a definite terrorist supporter in the Israeli legislature. We hope that the Supreme Court will understand this and teach Cassif that his place is not in the Israeli parliament, but at most in the Syrian parliament.”
The Hadash-Ta'al party responded to the decision of the Central Elections Committee to disqualify Cassif’s candidacy.
"It is shameful and disgraceful that the Kahanist thugs and the instigator Avigdor Liberman are the ones who dictate the agenda of the Central Elections Committee. Cassif's disqualification is another step in reducing the democratic space and silencing any voice of opposition to a discriminatory and racist regime. Hadash-Ta'al will continue to present a clear voice for peace, equality and social justice. We are proud of Dr. Ofer Cassif. Opposing the occupation is not against the law," the party said.