March 17, 2019 – The Israeli Supreme Court ruled 8-1 to disqualify Michael Ben Ari from running for the 21st Knesset. Ben Ari was running as part of the far-right party Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power). The Supreme Court’s ruling overturned the previous decision made by the Israel Central Elections Commission on March 12 to allow Ben Ari to continue his campaign. The Reform Movement in Israel, represented by the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), appealed to the Supreme Court after the Commission’s ruling, citing numerous examples of racism and racist incitement by the candidate throughout his career.
Ben Ari has stated that he views himself as the heir of Rabbi Meir Kahane, an extremist whose political party, Kach was ruled to be a terrorist organization in the nineties and was barred from running for the Knesset.
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Anat Hoffman, the Executive Director of IRAC, stated: “Today, the Supreme Court sent an important message that racist incitement has no place in Israel’s democracy. We at IRAC will continue to stand up to racism and racist incitement, and to fight using all of the educational, public, and legal tools at our disposal. Our Torah teaches that all people are created in the image of God, without any qualifying statements, and we are proud to be the only Jewish movement working to enact this vision of equality in the Jewish State.”