Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch
Supreme Court President Dorit BeinischIsraelNN (photo file)

The High Court in Jerusalem reversed Wednesday the decision by the Central Elections Committee that disqualified two Arab lists, Balad and Ra'am-Ta'al, from participating in the February general elections.

The decision was taken unanimously by the nine-judge panel in the case of Ra'am-Ta'al and with one dissenter, Justice Edmond Levi, in the case of Balad. The panel was headed by Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch.

The former chairman of Balad, Azmi Bishara, was a Knesset member until a Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) investigation discovered evidence that he had been spying for Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War. He then escaped the country.

'Judges must be elected'

National Union party chairman Yaakov ‘Ketzaleh’ Katz responded to the High Court’s decision by saying: “There is something deeply wrong with the High Court. The Israeli public needs to elect its judges like in America. Judges who allow enemies of Israel to enter the Israeli Knesset are unable to judge the Jewish People.”

Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) party chairman MK Avigdor Lieberman, who had filed a counter-petition to the court asking to uphold the Elections Committee decision, said, “The High Court’s decision is unfortunate since it did not draw the bounds for lack of faithfulness for some of the Arab parliamentarians in the State of Israel.”

“Judge Aharon Barak said that democracy does not need to kill itself in order to prove its vitality,” Lieberman added. “The court threw today this statement to the trash and has effectively given the Arab parties license to kill the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic State.”

Likud Knesset candidate Moshe Feiglin said that the decision was not surprising. He added that legislation designed to enforce allegiance to the state will be meaningless until the method of appointing Supreme Court judges is changed.

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said that a decision in favor of allowing the two Arab lists to run meant that the court was “arrogant and disconnected from the people.”

MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al) pronounced after the court decision, “We have defeated fascism.”