Israel's Supreme Court has barred two members of an extreme-right party many view as racist from running in a 17 September general election.

The court ruled that candidates Benzi Gopstein and Baruch Marzel of the Jewish Power party could not stand, quoting a law barring "incitement to racism" by candidates, according to a court statement.

Jewish Power members are followers of late rabbi Meir Kahane, whose Kach movement wanted to chase Arabs from Israel.

The ideology of Kahane, who was killed in New York in 1990, also inspired Baruch Goldstein, who carried out a massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers in Hebron in 1994.

The court rejected petitions to ban the Jewish Power as a party and upheld the candidacy of West Bank settler Itamar Ben-Gvir, who heads its electoral list.

Benzi Gopstein, Israeli leader of the extreme right-wing Jewish Power movement

Mr Ben-Gvir acknowledges having a picture of Goldstein in his living room, but has reportedly said it is because he was a physician who rescued Jews targeted in Palestinian attacks.

He decided to study law on the recommendation of judges so he could defend himself. He now represents settlers accused of violence.

Israel's Netanyahu had expressed interest in entering into a coalition with members of Jewish Power

Jewish Power advocates removing "Israel's enemies from our land," a reference to Palestinians and Arab Israelis who carry out attacks.

It also calls for Israel annexing the occupied West Bank, where more than 2.5 million Palestinians live.

Alone it was considered unlikely to garner the 3.25% of votes cast necessary to get into parliament.

But a deal mentored by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw it entering an electoral alliance with two other far-right parties, improving its chances.


Read more:
Israeli parliament votes to hold new elections


The pact drew disgust from many in Israel and among Jewish communities abroad, particularly in the United States.

For Mr Netanyahu, the deal ahead of what is expected to be a close election was pure politics.

He defended it by saying he does not want any right-wing votes to go to waste as he plans his next coalition.