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MK Michael Ben-Ari
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Otzma LeYisrael campaign nixed over racism
Election Committee disqualifies ads by right-wing party saying they 'defame entire Arab sector'

The Central Election Committee disqualified Wednesday the planned election campaign of Otzma LeYisrael – a right-wing party led by MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari, who split from the National Union.

 

The committee thus ruled in a favor of a petition filed by Meretz and several left-wing activists, who claimed that the party's ads – bearing the slogan "Loyalty – No Duties, No Rights" – constituted a smear campaign against the Arab sector.

 

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The party refuted the claim, saying that the demand made of Israeli Arabs to "earn" their civil rights was not racist.

 

Election Committee Chairman Justice Elyakim Rubinstein ruled in favor of the petition and nixed Otzma LeYisrael's campaign.

 

The decision was made contrary to a legal brief by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who said that the committee lacks the authority to do so.

 

"The campaign aims to present the Arab sector as disloyal to the State of Israel… It is the defamation of the entire Arab sector," Rubinstein wrote in his ruling.

 

Meretz welcomed the ruling, saying that it was "An unprecedented decision to disqualify a radically racist campaign, the likes of which has never been seem in Israel."

 

A statement by Otzma LeYisrael's said that the ruling went against the AG and that " Rubinstein thinks he has the right to weigh in on bus ads.

 

"This is a legitimate campaign and we intend to appeal this outrageous decision, which infringes in the freedom of speech."

 

Telem Yahave contributed to this report

 

Roi Mandel and Telem Yahave are Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondents

 

 

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