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Persona non grata – Marzel
Photo: George Ginsburg
Election Day: Arab-Jewish clash brewing
Umm al-Fahm's municipal government decides to block all entrances to Arab town on Election Day to prevent far rightist Baruch Marzel from entering community; police to bear full responsibility for developments, local activist says
Preparing 'warm welcome' for rightist activist? The National Union has appointed far rightist Baruch Marzel as an Election Day observer in Umm al-Fahm, but the Arab town's municipal government says it will not let him enter the community.

 

"We will block all the entrances to the town and the police will bear the full responsibility for what goes on that day," said Raja Agbaria of the Village Sons movement, following a unanimous city hall decision to prevent Marzel's arrival.

 

Responding to the reports, Marzel told Ynet that he will insist on arriving in Umm al-Fahm despite the objections.

 

"If needed I won't arrive alone, but rather, with other National Union activists," he said. "I think this is an important test for the rule of law and I expect to see the police's response…whether we are a law-abiding State, or alternately, will fold in the face of a thuggish mob. In any case, I'll be arriving at Umm al-Fahm."

 

Marzel, who earlier planned a rightist rally in Umm al-Fahm that has been put on hold for the time being, is supposed to open one of the polling stations in the town at 7 am and close it at 10 pm in his capacity as election committee chairman. After the ballots are counted, he will be charged with taking the ballot box to the city hall building.

 

'We'll urge residents to hit streets'

However, municipal officials were unimpressed with the idea and have decided to block all entrances to the town starting at 6:30 am on Election Day.

 

"We shall urge all city residents to hit the streets and not allow him to enter," Agbaria said. "Marzel is trying to get smart with us. They didn't allow him to come through the door, so he wishes to enter through the window. We will not allow him to realize his desires using by resorting to tricks."

 

City hall will also be sending a letter to police and to the Knesset's Elections Committee to express the town's reservations over Marzel's expected arrival.

 

Following his appointment, Marzel told Ynet: "I will try to do my best. At an Elections Committee conference they explained to us that the chairman's role is to prevent tampering, to maintain the purity of the elections and to ensure that the values of democracy and the rule of law are upheld in full."

 

Marzel added, "I promise to be very attentive and ensure there is no tampering in the city and that the National Union's votes in the city are counted and calculated without any external manipulation."

 

Efrat Weiss contributed to the story

 

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