Israeli elections committee bans left-wing group Darkenu for refusing to register

The group, which wants to unseat the Likud, has been banned for refusing to register as required by law.

By World Israel News Staff

The Darkenu movement refuses to register as an “active election body” with Israel’s State Comptroller, ignoring an order to do so by the Israeli Central Elections Committee, Israel Hayom reports on Thursday.

The elections committee forbade Darkenu (Hebrew for “Our Way”) from participating in the most recent election after a petition in March by the Likud party requested an injunction against the group. The injunction argued that Darkenu met all the criteria of an entity that needed to register before engaging in election-related activities.

According to Israeli law, an entity that wants to participate in the election process is required to register and publish on its internet site “every contribution it received from a donor,” according to Israel Hayom.

The ban on Darkenu’s activities is also in force for the September elections due to its continued unwillingness to register. On Thursday, Israel’s Supreme Court will hear Darkenu’s appeal against the injunction.

Darkenu is the successor to the V-15 group, which campaigned against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud in the 2015 elections.

V-15 sparked an election scandal after it became known that it had received funds from OneVoice, a group that received support from the U.S. State Department during President Barack Obama’s tenure.

Israel’s government viewed V-15 as foreign intervention in its elections. It subsequently passed the V-15 law, which requires non-party groups to register as “active election bodies.”

The Jerusalem Post reported that Likud lawyer Michael Dvorin, who drafted the petition against Darkenu in March, said, “Darkenu is a reincarnation and direct descendant of organizations that united ahead of 2015 with a declared goal to bring down the Likud and move the government to center-left parties.

“Darkenu is blatantly breaking the new law and therefore, there must be an urgent injunction against all of its current and future activities in the current election,” he said.

Darkenu organized the annual memorial last year for assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The ceremony has become highly politicized, and last year Knesset Speaker and Likud MK Yuli Edelstein turned down an invitation to address the event.

“I thought that nearly 25 years after the vile assassination we could overcome our political biases and organize an event that would unite people behind the fundamental values of Israeli society. But unfortunately, it seems the readiness for that has not arrived yet,” Edelstein wrote in a letter announcing his cancellation.