'Zoabi Bill' seeks to keep Balad MK out of Knesset

Legislation would strengthen Election C'tee; Zoabi: Bill undermines democracy, increases tyranny of the majority.

February 6, 2013 22:20
1 minute read.
Haneen Zoabi at the President's residence, January 31, 2013.

Haneen Zoabi. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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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 20th.

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 unreasonableness.”

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.

Later 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 Marmara terrorist.

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 stated.

“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, Zoabi said.

“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,” she added.

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