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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
With the verdict still out on the fate of the Arab parties, it was the Left's turn to take a judicial swipe at their opponents Tuesday as Meretz called on Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to investigate Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman for incitement to murder.
The allegations sprang from an angry retort that Lieberman made to MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List-Ta'al) in a war of words prior to the Supreme Court appeal of the decision to disqualify two Arab parties from running for Knesset.
After Sanaa called Lieberman a "fascist," Lieberman called Sanaa "a clown" and "a terrorist," adding that he should "be treated as such.
"We will take care of you like we take care of every terrorist; we will take care of you just like Hamas took care of you," added Lieberman, mixing up his words in Hebrew.
"You're a new immigrant. You can't speak Hebrew. You're constantly inciting. You can take a hike," Sanaa told Lieberman.
Both the UAL-Ta'al and Balad were appealing the Central Elections Committee's decision last Monday to disqualify their parties, after petitions argued that they support an armed struggle against Israel and that their political platform aims to undermine Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state.
Meretz said Lieberman's comment constituted incitement against Sanaa.
"Lieberman the racist doesn't stop at a red light. First he tries to prevent Arab representation in the Knesset and now he wants to kill their representatives," the Meretz faction said in a statement.
But the rhetoric Tuesday was not confined to outside the courtroom. MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta'al) said during the deliberation that "today in the US they are swearing in a black president, while in Israel they want to deny a minority the very right to political representation."
Mazuz said that in his opinion, there was no justification for the parties' disqualification, a statement that aroused the ire of National Union MK Arye Eldad. "Mazuz, who was blind to all of the red warning lights regarding [then- Balad chairman Azmi] Bishara, and refused to see that Arab MKs support Israel's enemies, continues to close his eyes and to prefer freedom of expression for the enemy within over the right of the State of Israel to exist as a Jewish state." Bishara fled Israel after being accused of helping Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War.
The Supreme Court sat in a special expanded format, with at least nine judges required to deliberate the appeal. A decision must be delivered no later than Thursday, after the Israeli-Arab rights group Adalah submitted an official appeal of the Central Election Committee's decision a day earlier.