Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced on Tuesday his decision to indict former Knesset member Hanin Zoabi of the Balad Party on charges of fraud and forgery in financial statements submitted to the comptroller.
Zoabi is accused of systematically deceiving the ombudsman by misrepresenting the source of millions of shekels the party had received between 2013 and 2016, according to media reports.
In addition to Zoabi, 35 people were questioned in the case.
“After considering the substance of the claims at the hearing and the legal opinion presented to me, I reached the general conclusion that there is an evidentiary basis and public interest to put Mrs. Zoabi on trial,” Mandelblit said in a statement.
Mandelblit said that despite evidence of illegalities by other party members, he will not seek further indictments in the case, in consideration of the wider social consequences.
“The possible harm of putting a party on trial is expected to not only harm its current leadership or founders or owners, but also a wider circle of citizens who have an attachment to the party and identify with its goals and public positions,” he explained.
The legal team representing Balad, which belongs to the Joint List alliance of Arab parties, applauded the decision not to charge the party.
“Our stance concerning the Balad party was heard during two hearings and was accepted in full by the attorney general. The decision not to file a precedential indictment against a party is an important milestone and prevents a historic legal distortion,” the lawyers said in a statement.