Following the banning of Balad MK Haneen Zoabi from running in the upcoming elections by the Central Elections Committee, the High Court of Justice on Thursday convened to hear her appeal.
Likud MK Ofir Akunis and supporters contended that Zoabi acted in seditious manner toward the Jewish state and the IDF by participating in the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla which attempted to illegally break through Israeli security off the coast and conducted violent attacks against Naval soldiers who boarded the ship.
Shouts and slurs erupted between Zoabi and MK Michael Ben-Ari of the new Otzma LeYisrael party and other nationalists who called her a terrorist and a traitor.
An enraged Zoabi barked that “the racist and fascist right wing is having what it wants not just in Knesset but in also in the court,” but went on to say that she believes the court will overturn her disqualification – something analysts say is likely true.
Before the hearing, Likud MK Danny Danon remarked that Zoabi should be “not in Israel’s Knesset, but in a jail.”
The committee rejected calls to ban Balad and the United Arab List from upcoming elections, as well as calls to remove pro-nationalist party Otzma LeYisrael.
However, Balad leaders have said that if Zoabi is prevented from running, the entire party would boycott the elections, with Zoabi saying that if she is banned from running, Arabs will boycott elections entirely.
The High Court’s decision is expected on Sunday.Malkah Fleisher
About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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