Gopstein, Ben Gvir, and Marzel
Gopstein, Ben Gvir, and Marzel Kobi Richter/TPS

The Central Elections Committee rejected petitions against Otzma Yehudit candidates Baruch Marzel and Bentzi Gopstein Wednesday evening, several hours after rejecting a petition to bar the entire party from running in the upcoming elections in September.

Sixteen committee members voted to disqualify their candidacies, while seventeen voted to reject the petitions against them. A similar request to disqualify the candidacy of Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir was likewise rejected.

The committee did not adopt the recommendations submitted yesterday by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to disqualify Marzel and Gopstein.

MK Yair Lapid slammed the decision to allow the Otzma candidates to run for the Knesset after the committee was deadlocked at fifteen voted both both sides on the decision to disqualify the entire list. Without a majority the petition to disqualify the list was rejected.

"What is happening now in the Central Election Commission is a scandal," Lapid said. "There is a majority which rejects the racism of Otzma Yehudit, but the Labor Party representative is not around. If racism is allowed to enter the Knesset, the Labor party will bare the bulk of the blame."

The committee decision does not guarantee that Marzel and Gopstein will be allowed to run. In March, the High Court of Justice overturned the Central Election Committee's decision to allow Otzma Yehudit leader Dr. Michael Ben Ari from running in the last elections in April, as well as the committee's decisions to bar Balad and the United Arab List from running for the Knesset.