Analysis: Banning Ben-Ari is unprecedented and uneven

It’s unclear why Michael Ben-Ari of Otzma Yehudit can’t run now when he could in 2009, after which he was a Member of Knesset for nearly four years.

The Central Elections Committee hearings on whether to disqualify candidates has long been little more than political theater. The politicians on each side argue how bad the opposite side’s extremes are, and whichever side has a majority wins.

The real arena has always been the High Court of Justice, to which the committee’s decisions are always inevitably appealed.

That’s why the cries about racism and the end of Israeli democracy – after the committee vote two weeks ago to keep Otzma Yehudit candidates Michael Ben-Ari and Itamar Ben-Gvir in the running, while banning UAL-Balad and Hadash candidate Ofer Kassif – were overblown. They were generally the result of cynicism from those who would speak like that about Israel or the Right no matter what; or of ignorance, especially from foreign outlets whose reporters are only in Israel for a few years and may not have gone through these motions before. Continue reading

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