An emerging coalition deal between the far-right Otzma Yehudit party and Likud reportedly includes a clause committing the government to revoke legislation that currently bars racist politicians from running for public office.
The report comes hours after Otzma Yehudit, led by anti-Arab extremist Itamar Ben Gvir, said it had reached an agreement with incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud on a framework for their yet-to-be-signed coalition deal.
According to Ynet, the agreement would see lawmakers work to amend Basic Law: Knesset to remove a clause that currently bans a Knesset campaign “should there be explicitly or implicitly in the goals or actions of the slate, or the actions of the person, including his expressions… incitement to racism.”
The move would pave a way into the Knesset for Baruch Marzel, Bentzi Gopstein, and Michael Ben-Ari, three openly racist former Otzma Yehudit politicians banned from running by the High Court in 2019.
Gopstein leads the racist Lehava organization, which opposes interfaith and inter-ethnic interaction, relationships and marriages. Marzel led extremist rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach party after its founder’s 1990 murder, and has long been identified with the faction’s goal of forcibly cleansing the country of Arabs.
Ben-Ari, a former MK, was warned in August that the state prosecution was mulling charging him for promoting racism toward Arabs for a period of three and a half years starting in late 2017.
In November, Ben-Ari and Marzel launched an abortive political party that took even more extreme positions than Otzma Yehudit, which they helped found. They criticized Ben Gvir, roundly denounced as a far-right demagogue, as “ideologically flexible.”