The State Attorney’s Office on Wednesday morning filed indictments against former MK Haneen Zoabi and 12 other defendants, some of whom are former senior officials in the Balad party, for fraud and forgery with intent to obtain a benefit.
Balad (Hebrew acronym for Democratic National Alliance) is a vehemently anti-Zionist party, currently a faction in the Joint Arab List. Its stated purpose is the “struggle to transform the state of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens, irrespective of national or ethnic identity,” It opposes the idea of Israel as a Jewish state, and supports the creation of a new “binational” state.
In March 2009, Zoabi said that she was not concerned about Iran’s acquiring nuclear weapons, because the Middle East needed a counterweight to Israel’s nuclear weapons.
In May 2010, Zoabi participated in the Gaza flotilla and was on board the MV Mavi Marmara when violence broke out against Israeli commandos who boarded the ship.
In June 2014, five days after the Hamas kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers who were later murdered, Zoabi commented, “Is it strange that people living under occupation and living impossible lives, in a situation where Israel kidnaps new prisoners every day, is it strange that they kidnap? They are not terrorists. Even if I do not agree with them, they are people who do not see any way to change their reality, and they are compelled to use means like these.”
Wednesday’s indictments are part of a plea deal in which the defendants will plead guilty and be convicted of the offenses attributed to them. They will consent to prison sentences which they’ll serve in community service, public service work, probation, and fines of up to NIS 75,000 ($23,300).
Zoabi was questioned along with about 35 other members of the Balad party, on suspicion of committing forgery and fraud in connection with reports that were submitted to the State Comptroller in two election campaigns in 2013, municipal and national. Last April, the Attorney General decided to prosecute the former MK after rejecting arguments raised by her lawyers.