Balad MK Haneen Zoabi at the Knesset..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Balad MKs Jamal Zahalka and Haneen Zoabi will be questioned by the Lahav 433 investigations unit in the coming days as part of a fraud investigation into the Balad party’s campaign financing.
The police suspect Balad party officials of falsely representing the origin of millions of shekels, obtained in Israel and abroad, used to finance party operations.
When Zahalka and Zoabi will appear for questioning is unknown, it is also unclear if they will be questioned or asked to give a statement. A spokeswomen for Lahav 433 declined to confirm the investigation of the Balad MKs.
In a statement on Thursday, the Balad party confirmed that the two MKs will be brought for questioning and castigated the investigation as “political persecution.”
“The order of the MKs to investigation is a definite political and vindictive step resulting from the failure of the police to intimidate the members of the Balad party and its leadership.”
Police have repeatedly denied any political motivations in the Balad investigation
This comes as police detained 13 suspects on September 21st in the ongoing investigation and 23 Balad activists, lawyers and accountants were detained on September 18th.
Those arrested on September 18th included Balad president Awad Abdul Fatah and other senior party leaders, however, Abdul Fatah was released along with six other Balad officials on Wednesday by the Haifa Magistrate’s Court.
Balad is uncompromising in its opposition to the Zionist ethos of the state and its MKs have been embroiled in controversies for acts seen by the Right as provocative and disloyal.
Party founder Azmi Bishara fled Israel in 2007 while being under investigation for allegedly passing information to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War a year earlier. He lives in Qatar, where three Balad MKs met him in August 2014 during the Gaza War. Ben Lynfield contributed to this report.