With Israeli voters about to head to the polls for a third time in twelve months, in the hope of electing a new coalition government in Knesset, Baruch Marzel, of the Otzma Yehudit party, did not waste time, announcing his party once again plans to run till the end. It is pointed out that the party failed to pass the minimum threshold to enter Knesset in the last two Knesset elections.
Marzel made his dramatic announcement on Thursday morning, citing if none of the other parties wish to merge with Otzma Yehudit for the election, the party will run to the end as it always has done in the past.
In the election for 22nd Knesset, the current outgoing Knesset, Otzma Yehudit failed to pass the minimum election threshold to enter Knesset and the party burned 80,000 votes, or about two seats. In the election for 21st Knesset, Otzma was part of the United Right-Wing party (URWP), but the party’s leader, Dr. Michael Ben-Ari was disqualified from running by the High Court of Justice. The URWP only received a total of five seats, so attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was in the sixth slot on the combined ticket, did not enter Knesset.
In his remarks following the Knesset voting to dissolve, President Reuven Rivlin called on citizens not to lose faith in the system.
“Dear fellow Israeli citizens, after two rounds of elections and as a third election campaign begins, I believe this is also critical moment for the Israeli public, which will decide on who its leaders are. Israeli democracy was and still is a source of pride, and we know that the democratic system comes at a cost. I pray that the depth of the current political crisis and the divisions it exposes amongst us will lead us as a society and as a country to fight not only for the right to disagree with each other – but also to the duty to find what we can agree about.
“I hope that this is the last election campaign for the next four years, and that we will be able to grow as a people and a society from the division and disagreement that separates us to agreement and action that benefits us all. We must not allow ourselves to sink into despair or grievance, which does no good. We must not lose faith in the democratic system or in its ability to create the reality we live in with our own hands,” he continued. “When the time comes, we will all exercise our democratic right and do it in the hope of a better future, as soon as possible, for us all.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)