Politicians on the right and left hailed the announcement by United Arab List MK Hanin Zoabi that after a decade in the Knesset, she would not seek to be included in the party’s list in the upcoming election. Minister Yoav Galant applauded her decision, saying “there is no place for hatred in the Knesset for haters of Israel. We cannot allow our enemies to take advantage of our democracy in order to destroy Israel.”
Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman said that “it’s for the best that the top member of the Israeli ‘fifth column’ is leaving the Knesset. I wish her luck in her future endeavors in Gaza or Beirut. Zoabi was among the more radical voices in the Knesset, too radical even for Arabs.” MK Yoel Hasson (Hatnu’a) said that “Zoabi did everything she could to destroy coexistence in this country. “It’s best that she has gone and she now needs to be careful in her actions, now that her Knesset immunity will no longer protect her.”
Zoabi, known throughout her political career for her anti-Zionist stance announced that she would not run at a conference of her Balad party. “There were some who valued my work and many who hated what I stood for, but I always fought for my stand. I couldn’t control the support or the hate, but one thing I could control – that I did not leave anyone neutral to what I represented.”
She blamed MKs on the left and right for trying to force her out of the Knesset. “They maligned me, incited against me, and tried constantly to make me disappear, to silence my voice, to misrepresent my opinions and my personality, to force me out of the political spotlight. I am proud that I gave it my all, without hesitating, or trying to fit in. I would do it all again.”
Zoabi is the second Balad MK to announce that they would not pursue a seat in the next Knesset. Last week, United Arab List Jamal Zahalka announced that he was quitting politics. “After 16 years I am proud to have been a part of the changes that I and members of Balad brought about in turning Israel into a state for all its citizens, as an alternative to the current government. I will not stop working until the vision of equality is a reality for Jews and Arabs, and until there is a just peace that will correct the historic injustices against Palestinians,” he said.