Ibtisam Mara'ana in court Wednesday
Ibtisam Mara'ana in court Wednesday Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The Israeli Supreme Court held a hearing Wednesday morning on the decision by the Central Election Committee to disqualify a member of the Labor Party from next month’s general election.

The hearing was held in response to an appeal by Ibtisam Mara'ana, an Israeli-Arab filmmaker who is running for the Knesset on the seventh spot on the Labor Party’s candidate slate, after the Central Election Committee voted last week to bar Mara’ana from participating in the election.

The petition to ban Mara’ana was filed by Otzma Yehudit chief Itamar Ben-Gvir, with a similar petition aimed at disqualifying Mara’ana was submitted by Maozia Segal, a wounded IDF veteran who later withdrew the request.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the judges focused on comments Mara’ana made during an interview in 2008.

“I would annihilate Zichron Yaakov,” Mara’ana said at the time. “Go back to the US or Poland.”

On Wednesday, however, Mara’ana denied having called for the destruction of the Israeli coastal city, and rejected claims she had called for the dismantling of Israel.

When Justice Noam Solberg asked whether Mara’ana had expressed remorse for her comments, Mara’ana offered an apology.

“I am human and I can make mistakes. I did not call for the destruction of Zichron Yaakov. I made a mistake during an interview because I wasn’t experienced in giving interviews. I apologize. I did not mean that Jews should go back to Poland. I am really apologizing, and I was born to be a bridge and I want to be a member of the Knesset who will be good for both Jews and Arabs.”

“I apologize for everything I that could have sounded racist or like incitement. I never incited against anyone. I am married to Boaz, who is Jewish, and we have a daughter who is half Jewish and half Arab.”

After the hearing, the court adjourned to deliberate on the matter, saying that it would announce its decision on Sunday.

While the Central Election Committee ruled against Mara’ana last week, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has come out against the ban, and has backed the appeal to the Supreme Court to reverse Mara’ana’s disqualification.

An Israeli-Arab filmmaker from Jaffa, Mara’ana has faced criticism for her anti-Zionist comments, her attacks on the IDF, and her public refusal to observe the two-minute siren on Memorial Day.

Earlier this month, Mara’ana apologized for posts on social media bragging about having ignored the memorial siren.

"I stand for the siren when I'm outside. I apologize that [my post] hurt a mother, father, brother or sister who lost their daughter or son - it doesn't matter what the reasons are," she told Channel 12 News.

In other social media posts, Mara’ana called Israel an “ugly” country, and claimed tht the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip is a “ghetto under brutal occupation”.

Two months ago, Mara’ana lambasted the IDF as an “occupation army”, and accused IDF soldiers of murdering an Arab child.

Mara’ana has also praised an Islamic Jihad terrorist who launched a hunger strike, lauded Nakhba Day events lamenting Israel’s establishment, and called on the municipality of Tel Aviv, where she lives, to light up city hall with the colors of the PLO flag.

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