Far-right candidate indicted for altercation with Palestinian

Baruch Marzel of Yachad Knesset list accused of brawling with Hebron resident in 2013

Extreme right politician Baruch Marzel at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, February 17, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Extreme right politician Baruch Marzel at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, February 17, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Police filed an indictment Wednesday against an ultra-nationalist Knesset hopeful running on a slate with Eli Yishai’s Yachad party. According to the indictment, Baruch Marzel, who is placed in fourth on the Yachad list, is accused of trespassing on private property and simple battery causing injury.

According to the indictment, filed in the Jerusalem District Court, in February 2013 Marzel entered the courtyard of Hebron resident Issa Amru in Hebron while on his way to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs, a flashpoint site holy to Jews and Muslims that is believed to contain the remains of biblical figures.

After he was asked to leave, an altercation ensued and according to the indictment, Marzel struck Amru, leaving him lightly bruised.

A nearby IDF soldier was called to the scene and broke up the scuffle.

Marzel is a resident of Tel Rumeida, a Jewish settlement located in the heart of Hebron, overlooking the Cave of the Patriarchs.

A hearing in the case has been set for May, after Israeli elections on March 17.

According to election polls, Yachad will narrowly pass the electoral threshold with four seats, making Marzel a likely candidate for a Knesset seat.

Marzel said Wednesday it was strange that the police had decided to indict him days before the elections over an alleged incident years ago.

Marzel faced stiff opposition this election season — by ultra-Orthodox pressure groups upset by his inclusion in the Yachad party, as well as attempts to disqualify him altogether along with MK Hanin Zoabi, from the Arab Joint List, on racism.

Yachad was formed when Yishai split off from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party he used to head, after finding himself sidelined by returning party member Aryeh Deri, who had also led the party before being sent to jail for graft.

Yachad then entered a technical agreement to join with the ultra-nationalist Otzmah Yehudit faction — of which Marzel was a member — meant to help the two parties pass the electoral threshold of 3.25 percent.

A number of rabbis from the national-religious community have been hesitant to publicly endorse the party because of its hard-line political and religious views.

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