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Israel Election Board OK’s All-Male Parties

Israel’s Central Elections Committee rejected motions to prevent haredi and ultra-nationalist political parties from running in next month’s elections.

The committee voted unanimously to allow the haredi Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties to run in the election, dismissing petitions to bar them from running for excluding women.

The committee also voted 17 to 3 with two abstentions to allow the ultra-nationalist Strong Israel Party, which was challenged for allegedly rejecting Israel as a democratic state and for inciting hatred, to run in the Jan. 22 elections. The party was founded by hardline lawmakers Michael Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad.

The decisions came a day after the committee voted not to disqualify two Arab political parties, Balad and the United Arab List-Ta’al, from running in the election, but voted to disqualify Arab lawmaker Hanin Zoabi, who participated in the May 2010 flotilla to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza.

Zoabi’s disqualification will automatically be appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court.

The only disqualification of a party ever upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court was Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach Party in 1988.

Article 7A of Israel’s Basic Law says that: “A candidates’ list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objects or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following: (1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people; (2) negation of the democratic character of the State; (3) incitement to racism.”

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