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Akunis: How Come Not One Judge Was Against Zoabi?

MK Ofir Akunis expresses disappointment over Supreme Court ruling allowing MK Zoabi to run in the elections.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/31/2012, 1:15 AM

MK Ofir Akunis
MK Ofir Akunis
Flash 90

MK Ofir Akunis (Likud), who led the efforts to disqualify MK Hanin Zoabi from running in the upcoming elections, expressed his disappointment on Sunday over the Supreme Court's decision to allow Zoabi to run.

The court, in a unanimous vote, ruled as expected and gave the Balad party’s list of candidates a green light, despite MK Hanin Zoabi’s having been on board the Mavi Marmara boat nearly three years ago when its IHH terrorists clubbed and knifed Israeli commandos.

Akunis told Arutz Sheva that he respects the court's decision despite his strong disagreement with it. He added that he was particularly surprised that there was not even one judge on the panel who thought Zoabi should be disqualified.

Akunis wondered how come none of the judges chose to stand alongside the IDF soldiers who were hurt in the Marmara incident in which Zoabi took part. He noted that a recently published poll on the Knesset Channel found that 74 percent of Israelis believe that Zoabi should be disqualified from running. This further brings up the question of why not even one judge chose to back the public on the issue, he said.

He also reminded of the remarks of former Supreme Court Justice Mishael Cheshin, who was part of the panel that chose to allow former MK Azmi Bishara to run for Knesset after he was disqualified by the Central Elections Committee. Cheshin later said that had he known at the time what he knows now about Bishara's support of the Hizbullah terror group during the Second Lebanon War, he would have rejected his candidacy back then.

Aknuis said Sunday's decision may be an expression of the disconnect between the Court and the people and added it raises questions about the separation of powers in Israel.

"I do not understand what's happening inside the Court, maybe something is wrong in the Supreme Court, perhaps there is a disconnect between society and its judges," said Akunis, adding that the Knesset should examine why is it that the only law that must go through the approval of the Supreme Court is the one which invalidates those who participated in a struggle against Israel from participating in the elections.

Earlier on Sunday, MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that the next Knesset will be asked to pass a law that would put Zoabi out of the legislature once and for all.

“The High Court decided today to support the Mavi Mamara terrorist [Zoabi] instead of Israeli commandos who were attacked with knives and clubs by terrorists of the IHH under the umbrella of immunity of Zoabi,” said MK Danon.

“Her proper place is in jail.”

He said he plans to introduce a change in  the Basic law to get around this and previous court rulings overruling the Knesset. “The current law is not working,” Danon said. "The law will be changed and Zoabi can be sure that her days in the Knesset are numbered."