Balad chairman Samy Abu Shahadeh
Balad chairman Samy Abu Shahadeh Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The Balad Party announced on Friday afternoon that it will appeal against the Central Election Committee’s decision to disqualify it from running in the elections to the 25th Knesset.

"We will appeal against the disqualification decision, we will run to the end and surprise everyone. Just as we did not submit to Lapid's dictates in submitting the slates, so we will not submit to Gantz's dictates in trying to engineer an Arab leadership according to his standards."

Balad was disqualified on Thursday by the Central Elections Committee by a majority of nine members who voted in favor (representatives of the National Unity, Yisrael Beytenu, Derech Eretz and Yamina parties) against five who opposed (representatives of Meretz, the Joint List and Ra'am parties). Members of the committee who represent the bloc of right-wing parties which supports Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu did not participate in the discussion and vote, and Yesh Atid’s representatives did not take part as well. Now the battle will move to the Supreme Court and the hearing on the petition is expected next Thursday.

Shortly before Thursday’s Election Committee meeting, Defense Minister Benny Gantz decided that representatives of the National Unity Party would vote in favor of disqualifying Balad. "There is no place in the Israeli Knesset for those extremists who act against the state," Gantz said.

The Netanyahu bloc did not support the disqualification of Balad so that the party would run in the elections, not pass the electoral threshold - and thus would lead to a waste of votes for the leftist camp.

The chairman of Yisrael Beytenu, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, whose party supported the disqualification, attacked the absence of the Netanyahu bloc from the vote.

"You, Bibi, talk all day about how 'right-wing' you are, but in practice we managed to disqualify Balad even though your 'right-wing' simply did not show up and vote. There is the right of words and there is the right of actions. And no one believes your words anymore."

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)