Election Panel Asked to Bar Israeli Arab Labor Party Candidate

The committee will discuss a request to disqualify Ibtisam Mara’ana for comments she made on social media

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
Ibtisam Mara'ana Menuhin
Ibtisam Mara'ana Menuhin.Credit: Yaron Kaminsky
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The Central Elections Committee will convene on Wednesday to discuss requests to disqualify candidates and parties contending in next month’s election.

The committee, made up of representatives of all the parties in the Knesset, will discuss a request by Labor party member Maozia Segal and Otzma Yehudit to disqualify Ibtisam Mara’ana, No. 7 on the Labor list, for comments she made on social media. The committee will also address a request by Otzma Yehudit to disqualify the Joint List.

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By law, the committee is authorized to disqualify candidates who deny the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, who incite to racism or support an armed struggle against the State of Israel.

The decisions made will be considered symbolic, as the Supreme Court has to ratify any decision made to disqualify a candidate or a party from running. Since the committee has a clear political bias – party representatives are being asked to disqualify their rivals – the court has overturned most disqualifications in the past.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit said Tuesday that he opposed the effort to disqualify Mara’ana. “To show that one of the regular grounds for disqualification exists, precedent requires that it be the dominant motive of the candidate and that the candidate was actively seeking to realize the objective through systematic and repeated activity that must be extreme and powerful in its expression,” he said.

According to Mendelblit, “Most if not all of the little evidence attached to the disqualification requests does not prove any one of the three grounds for disqualification and certainly does not establish that critical mass of evidence required by precedent to disqualify a candidate for the Knesset elections.”

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