Petitions demand disqualifications for major parties

Petitions were submitted to the Central Elections Committee (CEC) on Thursday asking it to disqualify all parties that registered their Knesset candidate lists last Sunday, including Likud, Kadima, Labor and Meretz, as well as Shas, United Torah Judaism and Balad. A petition submitted by the new Lazuz Party and its chairman, Amnon Ze'evi, asked the CEC to disqualify all parties that registered their candidates list last Sunday, December 28, when all major parties other than Israel Beiteinu registered their lists. Ze'evi said in the petition that according to the Election Law, registration must be completed no later than 47 days ahead of the election, and December 28 was only 44 days before the election, which is February 10. However, it should be noted that this decision had been made by the CEC itself; it had decided not to hold registration on two consecutive days, December 24 and 25, because the second day was Christmas and the non-Jewish parties had asked to allow them to register on a different day. The petition against Shas and UTJ was submitted by Or Party Chairman Yaron Yad'an, who says the two haredi parties reject Israeli democracy and endanger that democracy by operating independent school systems. The petition is based on section 7A of the Basic Law: The Knesset, under which "a candidates' list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objectives or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following: (1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; (2) incitement to racism; (3) support of an armed struggle against Israel by supporting an enemy state or a terrorist organization." The petition claims that "the state, with its own hands, encourages via non-democratic parties, by means of their school systems, a growing population that is not democratic, doesn't recognize the authority of the state, whose electoral power grows continually and which will eventually act to eliminate Israel's democracy." Itay Furman, a former member of Shinui, whose petition is based on the same Basic Law, submitted an petition against Balad. In his petition, Furman says that Balad denies that Israel cannot be a democratic state as long as as it is defined as Jewish and democratic at once. A date for the 33-member CEC to examine the petitions has not been set. In any case, the committee's decisions can be appealed to the High Court of Justice.