Far-right Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Lieberman has petitioned the Central Elections Committee to ban Hadash candidate Dr. Ofer Cassif from running in the upcoming election. Lieberman argued that “whoever claims that Israel shouldn’t be a Jewish state; who incites against IDF soldiers and says hurting them is not terrorism; and who thinks that Jews who ascend the Temple Mount are a cancer that must be eliminated, cannot sit in the Knesset. He belongs in the parliament in Gaza or Ramallah.”
Cassif, a political science lecturer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a leading member of the Communist Party of Israel, is the fifth candidate in the merged Hadash-Ta’al list, making it likely that he will get into the next Knesset.
Yisrael Beytenu will have to gather 12 signatures from Central Election Committee members to hold a debate and vote on banning Cassif, and then a majority of committee members would have to vote for him to be disqualified. However, Cassif would be able to appeal to the Supreme Court, which has overturned all such bans in recent decades.
The Communist candidate said that he has not surprised that Liberman, “who called for the death penalty and revoking citizenship and has a racist ideology, would act to disqualify someone who wants to promote Jewish-Arab partnership, peace and the end of the occupation.” Cassif said “I will enter the Knesset despite Lieberman and the extreme Right, and together with my friends in Hadash-Ta’al, will present a moral and just alternative.”