The Supreme Court on Sunday evening disqualified Otzma Yehudit members Baruch Marzel and Bentzi Gopstein, preventing them from running in the September 17 elections to the 22nd Knesset.
Gopstein was unanimously disqualified, but Judge Noam Solberg was in the minority in the panel of nine judges and opposed disqualifying Marzel. The court ruled that Itamar Ben Gvir and the other Otzma Yehudit candidates will be permitted to run for the Knesset.
Supreme Court President Esther Hayut explained that the decision was reached in light of "dozens of testimonies that cast an unequivocal and candid image according to which, in his many statements and actions as the head of the Lehava organization, Gopstein systematically incited to racism against the Arab public, in a manner far beyond the prohibited area of incitement."
Regarding Marzel, Hayut wrote, "The picture that is drawn from the sequence of Marzel's statements over the years in his voice and, among other things, the Facebook and Twitter pages bearing his name is a clearly painted with incitement to racism."
Gopstein said in response to the ruling, "The Supreme Court again proves to be a branch of Meretz. [Arab] MK [Heba] Yazbak who wrote that Samir Kuntar is a fighter and a Shaheed and said that she misses Nasser is not disqualified. According to the Supreme Court, calling for the murder of soldiers is fine, but fighting assimilation is unacceptable."
Marzel said that "the Reform organizations and the left-wing parties united against us out of the understanding that we will fight for a Jewish state and advance the values of the Torah in the Knesset. As far as they are concerned, harming the Otzma Yehudit party is another way of hurting Judaism and the answer to all the left-wing and Reform organizations will be in the polls."
The Yamina party also responded to the Supreme Court's decision to prevent Baruch Marzel and Bentzi Gopstein from running for Knesset.
"Again, it turns out that protecting minorities, the value of equality, and the right to elect and be elected are reserved only for Arab members of the Knesset who hate Israel and support terror. It is the theater of the absurd and, as it was in the disqualification of [Michael] Ben Ari, the Supreme Court judges do not miss an opportunity to prove how detached they are from the public. In the next term, Yamina will continue to balance the Supreme Court and amend the judicial system."