Today, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed an appeal to the Israeli Court of Justice on behalf of the Balad and United Arab List-Ta’al Parties, hoping to overturn last week’s decision by the Israeli parliament’s Central Elections Committee to ban the two parties from next month’s elections.
Though there appeared to be little if any evidence that the organizations were involved in any wrong-doing, the ruling Kadima Party cited the Balad party’s call for equal rights for all citizens regardless of national or ethnic identity in the ban, claiming it would “undermine Israel’s identity as a Jewish state.”
Indeed, Israel’s Attorney General Menachem Mazuz filed a brief with the High Court of Justice regarding the ban, cautioning that he saw no grounds to bar the parties from the election and that the decision to disqualify the Arab parties was based on “flimsy evidence.”
The legal petition told the court the ban was “extremely unreasonable” and noted that some of the committee members who voted for the ban conceded that there was no evidence to legal support it. Yisrael Beiteinu was one of the three parties that filed petitions to ban the Arabs from running in the elections. Yisrael Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman said he hoped that keeping them out of the elections was only the start. “The next step,” Lieberman declared, “is to declare Balad illegal because it’s a terror organization.”