Central Elections Committee unlikely to disqualify Arab candidates

There is no majority for any of the disqualification requests, due in part to the opposition of Blue and White.

Israel's Knesset (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Israel's Knesset
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
The Central Elections Committee will convene on Wednesday to decide on petitions by the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party to disqualify Arab candidates running in the March 23 Knesset election.
Otzma Yehudit petitioned against the Joint List, Ra’am (United Arab List) and the Labor Party’s seventh candidate, Ibtisam Mara’ana.
The committee is made up of representatives of factions in the outgoing Knesset. The Jerusalem Post surveyed the parties and found that there is no majority for any of the disqualification requests, due in part to the opposition of Blue and White.
“We will not interfere in the democratic process,” a Blue and White spokeswoman said.
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit wrote to the Central Elections Committee on Tuesday and recommended against all of the disqualification requests.
Mara’ana has in the past made extreme statements, including calling Gaza “a ghetto under cruel occupation” on social media. She left the 12th slot on the Meretz list in 2009 before the election to protest the party’s support for Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.
She has boasted about the joys of continuing to drive during the sirens on Holocaust Memorial Day and called for destroying the town of Zichron Ya’acov. Less than two months ago, Mara’ana called the IDF “the occupation army” and accused its soldiers of murdering a Palestinian child. In another post, she called Israel “ugly.”
Mara’ana apologized for hurting feelings in an interview with Channel 12 on Saturday night.
Mandelblit said her statements did not meet the minimum criteria for disqualifying a candidate.
Otzma Yehudit candidate Itamar Ben-Gvir said he was not surprised that Mandelblit “once again sided with the haters of Israel.”
In two responses filed by Adalah attorneys Hassan Jabareen and Sawsan Zaher, Adalah called on the Central Elections Committee’s chairman, Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman, to use his authority to dismiss outright the disqualification motions because they were filed in a dishonest and misleading manner and do not establish the required factual basis.
“Adalah reiterates that the Israeli Central Election Committee’s power to decide on the disqualification of party lists and individual candidates is unconstitutional and should be annulled, because allowing a political body to run disqualification proceedings violates the principles of fair and equal elections,” they wrote.