Balad MK Haneen Zoabi at the Knesset..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The High Court of Justice is giving a green light to terrorism and incitement by letting MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) run in the election, rightwing politicians said on Wednesday, after the judges overturned the Central Election Committee's decision to disqualify her.
Zoabi, who is running on the Joint List of Arab parties, said she had expected the court’s verdict, because the committee ruling did not have a legal basis.
“My views may not be within the racist consensus, but that is allowed in democracy,” she said.
According to Zoabi, the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu MKs who petitioned against her represent “anti-democracy, hatred and condescension.”
She said the High Court had seen her statements – including her remark that Hamas’s kidnapping of three teenage boys in Gush Etzion last year was not terrorism – as being within the framework of freedom of speech.
“I hope that the verdict will bring people to listen to what I say and not lying slander. The court revealed the major gap between what is attributed to me and what I said,” she added.
Joint List leader Ayman Oudeh said the attempts to disqualify Zoabi were “another way in which the Right tries to push aside and exclude the Arab population from the Knesset and circles of influence. To their dismay, as the polls show today, the Joint List’s success is our victory over racism and hatred.”
JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the verdict was a mark of shame on Israeli democracy, which did not know how to defend itself when necessary.
“The High Court’s decision is unfortunate and outrageous, because anyone with eyes in his head knows that Zoabi broke the law prohibiting anyone who supports terrorism and armed conflict against the State of Israel or rejects its existence as a Jewish state to serve in its parliament,” he stated.
The Yisrael Beytenu leader said the High Court’s repeated rulings to overturn Central Elections Committee decisions to disqualify Arab MKs’ candidacy on the grounds that they supported terrorism meant the law must be amended to take this authority from the courts.
Liberman vowed that his party would pass a bill doing so as soon as the next Knesset was sworn in.
Meanwhile, Meretz called for the opposite, saying the Central Elections Committee was too political to have the authority to ban candidates, and that this authority should belong exclusively to the courts.
However, Likud MK Yariv Levin, a member of the committee, said the High Court’s verdict declared terrorism kosher.
“The decision shows a total disconnect between the radical left-wing elites that control the judiciary, and reality and the basic values shared by everyone to whom the State of Israel is important,” Levin said.
Levin said the process of choosing judges must be changed so that judges were “people who are committed to the State of Israel and the Zionist idea.”
The High Court also allowed far-right activist Baruch Marzel to run in the election.
Following the decision, Marzel said: “I thank God for making me win, but the victory is not complete. I am only partly happy, because [the judges] compared Zoabi to me.”
Yahad leader Eli Yishai said that in the last two weeks since Marzel joined the list, “I got to know his great qualities, and like his name [Baruch, which means ‘blessed’], he is a blessing to Israeli public life. I am very happy we are running together, and we will do great things for Torah, the people and the land.”
However, Yishai said he was appalled that Zoabi, who “harmed IDF soldiers during the [Mavi Marmara] flotilla [to Gaza in 2010],” will be able to run in the election.
The Zionist Union said it accepted the High Court’s decision, even though they opposed both Zoabi and Marzel running.
“Marzel is the current reincarnation of [the outlawed Kach Party’s leader] Rabbi [Meir] Kahane, and Zoabi represents extremist opinions that do not belong in the Knesset, but we will fight them from within [the legislature],” a party spokesman said. “With the same determination, we will fight anyone who raises a hand against the High Court and the rule of law.”
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>