Knesset Votes 66-0 to Ban Racist and Anti-democratic Parties

The Knesset voted 60-0 today to outlaw anti-democratic and racist parties from running for the Knesset, in a move aimed to stop Rabbi Meir Kahane’s extremist Kach Party. The law will prevent a party from presenting a list of candidates if the party incites racism, negates Israel’s democratic character or opposes its existence as the State of the Jewish people.

Kahane was absent from the vote. He was removed from the Knesset chamber after ignoring repeated warnings by Acting Speaker Aharon Nahmias to refrain from using Bible quotations in a speech about the proposed law. Nahmias said the quotations were irrelevant. When Kahane persisted, Nahmias ordered him removed.

Most MKs were absent for the vote and six MKs abstained. Immediately after the vote, the Knesset passed another bill, this one requiring that any Israeli MKs give up citizenship they might have in any other country. Kahane has both American and Israeli citizenships.

Legal experts said today that the law banning racist and anti-democratic political parties from running for the Knesset could also be applied against parties on the far left. This presumably includes the Hadash (Communist) Party, which follows the Soviet line, and the Progressive List for Peace, which advocates dialogue with the PLO. The Progressive List won two Knesset seats in its first bid in the last elections and Hadash has four seats.

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