Photo Credit: Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90
Joint Arab List MKs Heba Yazbak, Mtanes Shehadeh, and Mansur Abas, April 29, 2019.

A Knesset committee voted to disqualify Israeli-Arab Member of Knesset (MK) Heba Yazbak from running in the upcoming elections for the 23rd Knesset over her support for terrorist Samir Kuntar.

The Central Elections Committee on Wednesday voted to ban her candidacy, with 27 members supporting the motion, and only seven members from the Arab-majority Joint List and the extreme left-wing Meretz supporting her.


In May 2015, Yazbak, of the Joint List, shared a photo of Kunter and praised him as a “martyred warrior” who died while waging Jihad.

Kuntar participated in the 1979 nighttime attack in Nahariya in which he murdered a policeman and then abducted Danny Haran and his daughter Einat and later murdered them both on the beach. Einat’s sister Yael suffocated to death while attempting to hide from Kuntar and the other three terrorists.

The High Court of Justice recently ruled that lauding Kuntar was “inconceivable” and “horrific,” but confirmed her candidacy for technical reasons.

The Committee voted to ban her, despite Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit’s defense of her statements.

Yazbak claimed during the hearing that she has “never called for the use of violence, nor did she intend to praise the use of violence. Today I would have put it differently.”

She is expected to petition the High Court, which usually overturns such decisions when they pertain to the banning of Arab Members of Knesset.

“It is clear to me that there is no legal cause for my disqualification and I hope the Supreme Court will act accordingly,” she stated.

The Be’Tsalmo human rights organization, which represented Ron Keren, brother of terror victim Danny Haran, welcomed the decision saying that “justice has come to light.”

The organization expressed hope that “the High Court judges will choose justice and the fight against terrorism, and not incitement and the glorification of terrorists. We are sure justice will be seen there, too.”


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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.