Heba Yazbak at the Supreme Court
Heba Yazbak at the Supreme Court Hezki Baruch

The Israeli Supreme Court moved Sunday to overturn a decision barring a controversial Arab MK from running in next month’s Knesset election.

MK Heba Yazbak, a member of the Joint Arab List’s Balad faction, had been banned from running in the March 2nd general election by the Central Elections Committee, which ruled late last month that her comments lauding Arab terrorists constituted support for terrorism.

In a narrow five to four ruling Sunday night, however, the Supreme Court overturned the Central Elections Committee decision, thus enabling Yazbak to run on the Joint Arab List in the next election.

Justices Uzi Vogelman, Yitzhak Amit, Daphne Barak-Erez, Menachem Mazuz, and Anat Baron formed the majority opinion, overturning the ban against Yazbak.

The minority opinion, which held that Yazbak should remain barred from running, was supported by Supreme Court chief justice Esther Hayut, and justices Noam Sohlberg, Yosef Elron, and David Mintz.

In addition, the court overturned a decision by the Central Elections Committee to ban the Mishpat Tzedek party, which is led by Larisa Trembobler-Amir, the wife of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin, Yigal Amir. The party seeks to reform Israel’s criminal justice system and enable the president to pardon Amir.

Last month, Yazbak was banned from running in the next Knesset election over a series of social media posts in which she lauded terrorists, including Samir Kuntar, the Palestine Liberation Front terrorist who led the deadly 1979 Nahariya attack which killed four Israelis in northern Israel.

Yazbak hailed Kuntar as a martyr in posts, while also expressing admiration for Gamal Abdul Nasser, the President of Egypt during the 1956 and 1967 wars with Israel. In other posts, Yazbak praised Rawi Sultani, an Israeli Arab and member of the Balad party who was jailed in 2010 for spying on senior Israeli army officials.

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