Israel’s High Court has cleared the way for Joint Arab List MK Heba Yazbak to run in the March elections, overriding the elections committee decision to disqualify her due to statements supportive of terrorism.
The nine-judge panel split 5-4 in her favor on Sunday, finding sufficient ambiguity in Yazbak’s inflammatory statements such that she could claim she has not incited violence against Israelis or IDF soldiers.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit had stated in a formal opinion that while her statements were highly problematic, since they were open to interpretation, she should not be barred from running.
Last month, the Central Election Committee banned her candidacy, citing media posts lauding terrorists, including Samir Kuntar, the Palestine Liberation Front terrorist who led the deadly 1979 Nahariya attack which killed four Israelis in northern Israel. Yazback also appeared to support violence against Israeli soldiers, although she did not do so explicitly, in a recent interview.
Yazbak hailed the ruling, saying, “The decision of the Court again shows that the disqualification requests are part of the incitement circus against me and against the Arab community and its representatives.
“The decision of the Central Elections Committee to disqualify me was a political decision by a political committee,” she added.
The Likud issued a statement calling it “a disgrace. [Blue and White chairman Benny] Gantz has no government without the Joint List. After today’s decision, whoever wants Heba Yazbak in the opposition and not the government must vote Likud,” it said.
However, Blue and White voted against Yazbak’s candidacy in the Central Elections Committee.