Rightist MK Whisked Out of Poll in Arab City After Violent Protest

Eldad was to replace extremist Marzel, who was denied entry into city due to threats of violence.

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Police whisked rightist MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) away from Umm al-Fahm Tuesday after protestors tore down the fence of a polling station in the Israeli Arab city that he was overseeing.

Five Israeli Arabs were arrested after throwing stones and scuffling with police during the incident.

Eldad was to replace fellow far-rightist Baruch Marzel, who was denied entry into the town by police earlier on Tuesday after intelligence indicated that unrest was likely if he had been permitted to oversee the voting station.

As a large police detail accompanied Eldad into the school in which the poll was held earlier Tuesday, demonstrators shouted "murderer!" at him.

The Northern District police chief decided Tuesday to ban Marzel from entering the Israeli-Arab city of Umm al-Fahm to oversee its polling station.

Major General Shimon Koren's decision came after intelligence warnings of a threat to the safety of the public should Marzel be allowed to supervise the voting.

Dozens of residents of the city and surrounding communities had gathered earlier Monday to block the entrances to the city in protest against the extremist's appointment to the local election committee.

"We're coming to condemn this racism and fascism," Army Radio quoted one of the protestors as saying. "We want to live in peace, but we won't let any racist pass through Umm al-Fahm. He won't get into our home."

Police had told civic leaders over the past two days that they would not be able to prevent Marzel from coming to town.

"They can only keep him away once he enters the city itself, if indeed there are disturbances of the peace," city councilman Raja Agbariyeh, who also serves as head of the Sons of the Land movement, told Haaretz Monday.

"Marzel will not enter in here. We welcome any other Jewish person who does not want to expel us," he also said.

On Friday, Central Election Committee chairman Justice Eliezer Rivlin denied Attorney General Menachem Mazuz's request to remove Marzel from the committee due to fears that his presence might spark violence.

Sources on the Central Election Committee Monday said the police and Mazuz had wrongly placed responsibility for public order in Umm al-Fahm at the committee's doorstep.