Far-right Otzma Yehudit party appears to fall short of election threshold

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Far-right Otzma Yehudit party appears to fall short of election threshold

Group containing disciples of Meir Kahane reportedly doesn't make the 3.25 percent cut, avoiding Israel 'moment of international embarrassment'

Likud headquarters on elections night in Tel Aviv, on September 18, 2019. Photo by: JINIPIX
Likud headquarters on elections night in Tel Aviv, on September 18, 2019. Photo by: JINIPIX

Far-right party Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power), comprising disciples of Meir Kahane, appears not to have made the 3.25 percent cut, avoiding what BICOM chief executive James Sorene said could have been Israel’s “moment of international embarrassment”.

Kahane was an American rabbi who advocated the expulsion of Arabs from Israel, co-founded the terrorist-designated Jewish Defence League and who was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture explosives. He was assassinated in 1990.

The party is led by Itamar Ben-Gvir, a lawyer who represents Jewish terrorists, including those found guilty of the Duma arson attack in 2015, when a Palestinian family, including an 18-month old baby, was burned alive in their home.

Exempted from IDF service because of his extreme views, Hebron settler Ben-Gvir first appeared on TV just weeks before Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was shot in 1995. Brandishing a Cadillac emblem, he said: “We got to his car, we’ll get to him too.”

The party’s senior personnel have advocated policies such as expelling Israeli Arabs accused of disloyalty and banning marriage between Jews and Arabs. Some polls predicted that it would win four seats, but it appears to have missed out.

While that was bad news for Netanyahu, British Jewish groups breathed a sigh of relief.

Yachad said: “Though powerful players in Israeli politics, including the Prime Minister himself, tried to bring the Kahanists into the mainstream, the Israeli public rejected this Jewish-supremacist party.”

New Israel Fund UK chief executive Adam Ognall added: “We should be thankful that Israel seems to have rejected the Kahanists and their ilk.”

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