Zoabi unlikely to return to next Knesset

Zoabi has long been one of the Knesset’s most controversial members, since first being elected to the legislature in 2009.

December 26, 2018 21:54
2 minute read.
Zoabi unlikely to return to next Knesset

Haneen Zoabi Joint List MK during a Knesset discussion. (photo credit: HADAS PARUSH)


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Firebrand Joint List MK Haneen Zoabi’s chances of getting into the next Knesset are very slim.

The Balad Party, of which Zoabi is a member, is one of four parties that make up the Joint List. In July, Balad held a primary, in which Zoabi came in fifth place. Balad had only three seats in this Knesset, and it is highly unlikely it will get five.

Zoabi has long been one of the Knesset’s most controversial members, since first being elected to the legislature in 2009.

She is best known for participating in the 2010 Gaza flotilla, meant to break Israel’s naval blockade, aboard the Mavi Marmara, where other participants violently clashed with IDF commandos.

During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Zoabi wrote an article justifying Hamas shooting rockets at civilian populations, and she said the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens before the operation began was not an act of terrorism.

Zoabi was punished by the Knesset Ethics Committee for both incidents and for others, including physically attacking a Knesset usher.

The Central Elections Committee has also voted to ban her and Balad from running for seats in the Knesset, but the Supreme Court always reversed the decisions, upholding their right to run.

In addition, longtime Balad MK Jamal Zahalka announced on Tuesday that he will not be running for the Knesset, because his party sets a limit of four terms for its lawmakers.

Some on the Right celebrated the lawmakers’ departure.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein tweeted: “No Zoabi and no Zahalka, and with God’s help, no Balad at all. This party does not contribute anything to the Knesset; the opposite is true. They harm the entire Israeli public.”

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said: “Finally, the fifth column in the Knesset is going home. I hope this ‘dynamic duo’ doesn’t just leave the Knesset but leaves Israel and will go where they belong, in Gaza or Damascus.”

Another Joint List MK, Masud Gnaim of the Islamic Movement-backed United Arab List, also announced that he will not be running again, because UAL has a three-term limit.

In his final speech, he said “thank-you to the Arab public. I did all I could to serve you. I am proud of all the MKs in the Joint List. We worked together, and we will continue together.”

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