The Central Election Committee will debate disqualifying MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad)
from running for the next Knesset, after the Likud representative to the
committee, MK Ofir Akunis, gathered the requisite signatures.
decisions as to which parties or individuals are disqualified will be released
on December 23, one month before the election. The High Court can overturn
decisions until January 1.
Although the committee has disqualified
parties in recent years, including Balad and United Arab List-Ta’al in 2009, the
High Court of Justice has overturned all such decisions, except for Rabbi Meir
Kahane’s Kach party in 1988.
Akunis submitted a request to prevent Zoabi
from running to Central Election Committee chairman Judge Elyakim Rubinstein on
Sunday night, along with signatures from 13 committee members, the number
required to disqualify an individual.
The Likud MK expressed confidence
that his proposal would be backed by a majority of the 36 committee
“I have no doubt the Central Election Committee will authorize
my request, as will the High Court, which will surely review an appeal,” Akunis
said. “The court will have trouble opposing my argument that Zoabi broke the
Basic Law: The Knesset.”
Article 7a of the Basic Law: The Knesset says
that a party list or an individual candidate cannot reject Israel as a Jewish
and democratic state, incite to violence or support armed combat by an enemy
state or terror organization against the State of Israel.
Akunis, Zoabi incited against the government and the IDF, and committed an act
of terrorism by sailing on the Gaza-bound flotilla ship Mavi Marmara in
On Thursday, Yisrael Beytenu’s representative to the Central
Election Committee, MK David Rotem, requested to disqualify Zoabi’s party,
Balad, from running, on grounds that it breaks the law.
Any individual MK
can submit a request to disqualify a party, without signatures from committee
“From the time it was founded until today, the purpose of
[Balad], [and] the actions and declarations of its members and leaders undermine
the basic consensus on which Israeli democracy stands,” Rotem wrote in his
“Analyzing actions and declarations, as opposed to their
carefully written platform, shows that the list and candidates reject the
existence of the State of Israel as both Jewish and democratic, and admire,
praise and encourage acts of hostility against Israel and
Rotem mentioned Balad MK Said Nafa’s meeting with Hamas leader
Khaled Mashaal and deputy secretary-general of the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine Talal Naji in Syria, as well as Zoabi’s participation in
the Gaza flotilla.
National Union MKs Arieh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari,
who have broken off from their party and are running for seats in the next
Knesset as the heads of the new Strong Israel list, asked to disqualify Balad
and UAL-Ta’al on Sunday on similar grounds.
“These fascists, Akunises and
Libermans and Rotem-types, are taking advantage of the current atmosphere, in
which Likud Beytenu members are running everything,” Zoabi said in response to
“This is the time to choose between fascism and democracy,
and for whoever does not want citizens to have free elections, I am one of many
targets in a chain of eliminations.”
Zoabi added that only “dark regimes”
can be proud of disqualifying candidates, and should she be forbidden to run for
the 19th Knesset, a red line would be crossed.
“There’s an automatic
majority in the Knesset for fascism,” she stated.
However, should she or
her party be disqualified, Zoabi said she does not think the High Court will
allow it to stand. If it does, it will have granted legitimacy to turning Israel
into a “totally fascist regime,” she said.
On Monday, the “New Land”
party, which is unlikely to get into the next Knesset, submitted requests to
disqualify several candidates for the next Knesset – including Likud MKs Danny
Danon and Miri Regev, and members of the Strong Israel list, including Ben-Ari
and right-wing activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir – for incitement to
New Land pointed out that several of the Strong Israel candidates
are students of Kahane, whose Kach party was disqualified and is considered a
terrorist organization by the government.
Ben-Ari, Marzel and Ben-Gvir
said they will continue to fight for the Land of Israel and the people of
Israel, no matter what the Left says.
“In the next Knesset, we will act
as MKs with all the authority and power against enemies of Israel that know we
will do every legal thing possible to get them out of the Knesset,” they said.
“[UAL-Ta’al leader Ahmed] Tibi and Zoabi can start packing their
The request to disqualify Regev and Danon is based on statements
the two made about illegal African migrants.
Danon said New Land is a
“bizarre left-wing party that is just looking to get into the press.”