Right-wing Likud-Beytenu MK Danny Danon told The Jerusalem Post Thursday that if the Supreme Court allows Balad MK Haneen Zoabi to run in the upcoming election, he is prepared with a 'Plan B': amending the law to prevent future runs.
The court met Thursday morning to hear the petition about Zoabi with a panel of nine justices, presided over by Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis, and was expected to strike down the Central Elections Committee decision a week earlier to ban her run.
The Committee passed the ban on grounds of supporting terrorism and rejecting Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
Danon, who led the move to disqualify Zoabi, told the Post that he believes he can win in court, despite the fact that it has never disqualified an Arab MK before.
On Wednesday, the State Attorney’s Office declared that will not defend the ban. “It is the opinion of the attorney- general that there is no room for the esteemed High Court of Justice to authorize the Central Elections Committee decision to bar MK Zoabi from running in the 19th Knesset,” the attorney-general stated.
Zoabi has been one of the most controversial figures in Israeli politics, following her participation aboard the Mavi Marmara ship during the 2010 flotilla to Gaza. IDF officers who boarded the ship clashed with Turkish activists and killed nine of them during the confrontation.
The state, represented by Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, has consistently opposed the ban on Zoabi, as well as bans on any political parties.
Last week, Weinstein recommended the Central Elections Committee not disqualify Zoabi or the United Arab List- Ta’al, Balad and Strong Israel parties, and to allow them all to run in the upcoming January 22 Knesset election.
The attorney-general said he deemed the evidence gathered against Zoabi to be “disturbing and substantial” and “close to the level of being prohibited,” but ultimately did not reach the “critical mass” necessary for disqualifying her.
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.
Although the committee has disqualified parties in recent years, including Balad and UAL-Ta’al in 2009, the High Court of Justice has overturned all such decisions, except for the banning of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach party in 1988.
Ilene Prusher contributed to this report.