High Court Dismisses ‘Theoretical’ Zoabi Case


Israel’s High Court said on Thursday that it has more important things to do than spend time on Haneen Zoabi’s parliamentary immunity, a case left over from the last Knesset and with no further bearing on her present status, The Jerusalem Post reported.

A special panel of seven justices dismissed the case Thursday morning, rather than  “dedicate [the court’s] limited resources to the examination of a theoretical question,” since the 18th Knesset was dissolved, and Zoabi, as a member of the 19th Knesset, has renewed parliamentary rights. The Knesset decision would have revoked the controversial Arab politician’s diplomatic passport and her right to be compensated for legal expenses, and other priveleges.

However, neither Zoabi (Balad) nor MK Yariv Levin (Likud-Beiteinu), who led the Knesset House Committee vote against her, were satisfied with the Court’s dismissal of the case.

Zoabi had appealed to the Court to reverse the Knesset decision.

“The court’s decision harms me yet again,” Zoabi stated. “The job of the High Court is to make legal rulings, and in my case, to decide if the Knesset House Committee’s decision was legal and constitutional.” According to Zoabi, the court discussed her case eight months ago, and so should not have dismissed it now.

Levin, on the other side, was also unhappy. “The court’s decision is an undignified attempt at avoidance. Judges have to do their job and judge,” Levin said.

Levin criticized the court for allowing Zoabi to “continue to stand at the head of terror supporters in the Knesset and carry a diplomatic passport, which I was able to revoke in the last Knesset.”

“The court’s claim that the issue is theoretical is baseless,” Zoabi argued. “This is a political question involving rights, freedom of expression and the foundations of pluralism in any civilized, democratic government, and the ruling could have shown the illegitimacy of the House Committee’s behavior. Leaving the matter as-is is an anti-democratic political message.”

Zoabi had been disqualified by the Central Election Committee from running for office again in January due chiefly to her participation in the 2010 Gaza flotilla. But that decision was overturned by the High Court.