MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) will likely be banned from the 2013 Knesset elections by the Central Elections Commission, but the High Court of Justice is expected to overturn such a ban if imposed.
MK Ofir Akunis (LIkud), who submitted the request for a ban, announced on Sunday that he had obtained enough signatures from committee members to bring the matter to a discussion in the coming days.
In his request, Akunis accused Zoabi of rejecting the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, a position that, if proven, makes citizens ineligible to run for national office.
The request blasts Zoabi for participating in the 2010 flotilla to Gaza, which attempted to break the Israeli-imposed blockade on the Strip.
“Throughout her years in the Knesset, Zoabi has constantly undermined the State of Israel and has openly incited against the government, its institutions and IDF soldiers,” the request noted. “She took part in the Marmara flotilla which saw IDF soldiers being attacked and their lives being threatened.”
Zoabi responded Sunday by blasting what she labeled the “fascist right,” that is targeting her personally, and her party, in order “to destroy freedom of speech, political pluralism and any deviation from the narrow ideological consensus that sees an Arab fighting for their rights as an enemy.”
If the committee votes to ban the Arab Israeli MK, the matter then rises for review before the High Court of Justice, which has commonly overturned similar committee decisions in past election cycles.
The elections committee is also set to discuss next week the disqualification of Zoabi’s Balad party and a second Arab party, United Arab List Ta’al, per the request of MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu). Rotem submitted the request on Thursday, charging that Balad “supports the armed struggle of an enemy state or terrorist organization,” and citing Zoabi’s participation in the 2012 flotilla.
“It is time that the Election Commission and the Supreme Court finally place a red line,” Rotem said, blasting Israel’s “inability to deal with a hostile minority that undermines its existence.”
Before the 2009 elections, the committee disqualified Balad and United Arab List Ta’al from running for the Knesset, but the High Court overturned the ban.