Balad MK Haneen Zoabi 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The Central Elections Committee will review 12 requests to bar parties and
individuals from running for the 19th Knesset on Wednesday, despite
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein’s recommendation not to disqualify
There are six petitions against the Balad party, submitted by MKs
David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu), Danny Danon (Likud) and Ophir Akunis (Likud);
leaders of the new Strong Israel party leaders and current National Union MKs
Michael Ben-Ari and Arieh Eldad; the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel; and an
individual named Itai Forman.
Akunis also submitted signatures from 13
Central Elections Committee members to call a vote to disqualify Balad MK Haneen
In addition, Strong Israel petitioned to disqualify United Arab
The petitions to bar Zoabi and her party from running are
based mostly on claims that they do not recognize Israel as a Jewish and
democratic state and support armed combat against Israel.
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
Five petitions were submitted to disqualify Strong Israel
grounds of racism and being undemocratic, by Hadash MKs; Balad MKs; new party
Eretz Hadasha; the Coalition Against Racism in Israel; and social activist Oren
The final petition, submitted by Jerusalem city councilwoman
Laura Verton (Meretz) along with several women’s organizations, seeks to prevent
Shas and United Torah Judaism from running for the 19th Knesset on grounds that
they discriminate against women
by not having any females on their candidate
The Central Elections Committee will hold a meeting to discuss and
vote on the various requests on Wednesday morning, and, if necessary, will
continue on Thursday.
Labor announced that it will vote against the
disqualification of any parties, because the freedom to express opinions is a
tenet of democracy.
“Disqualification on the Right or the Left is a
dangerous, slippery slope in a time where we have to stand strong and protect
democracy, even if we are repulsed by many of the things said by parties and MKs
being discussed,” said MK Isaac Herzog (Labor).
Herzliya Mayor and Yesh
Atid candidate Yael German spoke out against the exclusion of women in haredi
parties that present “dark worldviews that are dangerous to Israeli society” and
called for such discriminatory practices to be declared illegal.
the committee ban a party or individual from running, the decision can be
appealed in the High Court of Justice. The only disqualification ever upheld by
the High Court was Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach Party in 1988.
Weinstein said he did not find sufficient legal grounds to disqualify
The attorney-general deemed the evidence gathered against Zoabi
“disturbing and substantial” and “close to the level of being prohibited,” but
said it ultimately did not reach the “critical mass” for disqualifying
The attorney-general stated that some evidence existed against
UAL-Ta’al indicating a “disturbing closeness to the ideas” of rejecting the
Jewishness of the State of Israel and some indications of support for the armed
struggle of a terrorist organization.
However, the evidence presented was
weak and could not justify disqualifying the two parties according to the
relevant Supreme Court precedents on the issue.
Weinstein found the
evidence against Balad “more troubling” but still lacking, compared to the
evidence brought against the same party in 2003 – when it was ultimately allowed
to participate in elections.
Addressing the request to disqualify Eldad
and Ben- Ari’s Strong Israel for rejecting the “democratic” character of the
State of Israel, Weinstein said the evidence presented is not convincing and
Regarding the idea of disqualifying the party on the
basis of characterizing its campaign as racism, he said the evidence was “more
substantive and disturbing,” but also did not meet the “critical mass.”