Moments after MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) was sworn into the 19th Knesset Tuesday,
MK Danny Danon (Likud Beytenu) submitted a bill intended to keep her out of the
The legislation, which Danon nicknamed the “Zoabi Bill,” would not
allow the High Court of Justice to overturn a Central Elections Committee vote
to disqualify a party or MK unless the committee displayed “extreme
In addition, the committee will only be able to
declare an MK or party ineligible with a two-thirds vote, as opposed to a
majority, which is the current rule.
In December, the Central Elections
Committee banned Zoabi from running for the 19th Knesset on grounds of
supporting terrorism and rejecting Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,
following her participation in the May 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla.
that month, the High Court overturned the committee’s decision, and Zoabi was
reelected as an MK in January.
“The High Court decided to back the
The sane, democratic camp has the responsibility to
fix Basic Law: The Knesset and ensure that an MK who chooses to support
terrorist organizations and incite against the State of Israel cannot be elected
again,” Danon said on Wednesday.
Danon expressed hope that his bill will
strengthen democracy, explaining that “democracy and freedom of expression are
important values, but [he intends] to act firmly against those who take
advantage of it to harm Israel.”
Zoabi, however, said that Danon is
showing contempt for democracy and its basic rules. “This is disrespect for
citizens, who are often helpless in facing the subjugating government, and have
a moment of truth [in elections] to say who they want to represent them,” she
“This is an additional step in reducing the authority of the High
Court and increasing the tyranny of the majority.”
The Central Elections
Committee cannot ensure pluralism, because everything it does is political,
“True, democracy does need to protect itself, and can do so,
but only in a way that strengthens its foundations and does not undermine them,”