Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ruled on Wednesday that there is no "critical mass of evidence" that would allow the barring of Baruch Marzel of Otzma Yehudit, number four on the Yachad – Ha'am Itanu party joint list.
Radical leftist organizations and political parties submitted a petition to have Marzel banned for vague allegations of "racism," claiming he negates Israel's status as a democratic state and incites racism. Marzel struck back, pointing out that the petition only relies on faulty news articles, and actually proves that his opposition to opponents of Israel is not based on whether they are Arab or Jewish.
Weinstein's opinion finds that the quotes associated with Marzel in the petition do not constitute statements negating Israel's status as a democratic state, or any form of incitement to racism, in a manner that would justify blocking him from the Knesset.
"That's because the request mainly includes copies of newspaper articles only," Weinstein wrote, recommending not to allow the request.
The attorney general opined that the claims of incitement to "racism" are more meaningful and troubling than the ones regarding democracy, and include "calls that enrage every heart."
Weinstein also condemned statements made by Marzel against Central Elections Committee chair judge Salim Joubran, and expressed "sorrow" that the comments were made.
However, even in terms of these statements Weinstein found the petition against Marzel is unjustified, given the lack of serious evidence.
Marzel submitted a response to the petition on Wednesday, which gave examples of statements attributed to Marzel in the petition that recordings prove were never made.
The petition focused on allegations that Marzel cursed Arab MK Mohammed Barakeh and Jewish MK Dov Khenin, both of the communist Hadash party, during a trip they took to Marzel's hometown of Hevron. The petition also focuses on Marzel's refusal to shake hands with Joubran when submitting the party list.
Marzel said that his opposition to both Barakeh and Khenin proves he is against all opponents of Israel regardless of their race. Likewise he noted his refusal to shake hands with Joubran had to do with his anti-Israel and anti-IDF positions, and that he didn't shake the hands of Jewish judges he views as being anti-Israel either.
Weinstein previously wrote to Joubran calling the refusal to shake his hand "racism," even though Marzel noted at the time that his refusal was not related to Joubran's race, but rather "because at every opportunity he had he came out against the people of Israel and IDF soldiers."