High Court overturns ban on Balad MK Zoabi's Knesset run

Following disqualification by Central Elections Committee, court unanimously decides Haneen Zoabi will be allowed to run in upcoming elections; Zoabi says decision shows there was no legal basis for ban; Likud slams decision.

Zoabi arrives at court 370 (photo credit: Reuters/Ammar Awad)
Zoabi arrives at court 370
(photo credit: Reuters/Ammar Awad)
The High Court on Sunday decided Balad MK Haneen Zoabi’s will be reinstated for the 19th Knesset election.
Responding to the High Court decision in an interview with Army Radio, Zoabi said although she respects the High Court decision, it doesn't mean Israel is "100% democratic."
"This ruling proves again that the Central Elections Committee is a political body that abuses its authorities and allows politicians to bar their rivals for ideological reasons," Zoabi said.
Zoabi added she was convinced she would be allowed to run. "It was clear to me that there was no legal basis to ban me," she said.
"However, this decision does not erase the threats, the de-legitimization, and the physical and verbal violence that I experienced at Knesset and outside of it in the past three years," she added.
Zoabi was also determined to continue acting the way she has done thus far. "Balad and I would not allow anyone in the Knesset or outside of it to define to us and to the Arab public our legitimate positions and the limits of our political activity."
Zoabi's attorney claimed Zoabi's participation in the Mavi Marmara protest was "a legitimate political action done by an MK that is protesting the blockage [on Gaza]."
Zoabi was disqualified by the Central Elections Committee last week, in a 19-9 vote, despite Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein recommending that she be allowed to run. The committee approved the ban on the grounds that Zoabi supported terrorism and rejected Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
Balad chairman Jamal Zahalka had said following the decision last week that if Zoabi is disqualified, Balad would not run.
Likud responded to the decision, saying it is clear the existing law "has to change" and state "unequivocally that any expression of support for terrorism amonst candidates will result in their disqualification from the Knesset."
MK Yariv Levin said the decision is a "scandal", adding that it exposes Knesset and the IDF to terror.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.