Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut
Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Tomorrow (Thursday), Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut will head a nine-judge panel that will hear the appeal filed by the Balad party against the Central Election Commission's decision to disqualify its candidacy for the 25th Knesset.

The appeal filed by the leftist organization "Adalah" claimed that Balad's disqualification request was lacking in evidence, and it had already been discussed in the past in the Supreme Court which determined that the disqualification was not justified.

Balad was disqualified by the election committee by a majority of nine members (representatives of the National Union party, Yisrael Beytenu, Derech Eretz, and Yamina) versus five who opposed (representatives of Meretz, the Joint List, and Ra'am). Not all right-wing members of the committee participated in the discussion and vote. Yesh Atid representatives likewise did not participate.

Now the battle goes to the Supreme Court.

Shortly before the 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 House of Representatives 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, would not pass the threshold - and thus would lead to wasted votes for the leftist camp.

The chairman of Israel Beitenu, 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 without your 'right-wing' votes. There is the right of words and there is the right of actions. And no one believes your words anymore."

Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara opposes the disqualification of Balad as well as the disqualification of Ra'am, which, as I recall, was not approved by the election committee. Baharav-Miara claimed that "while Balad is still close to the line over which a party cannot run in the Knesset elections, no evidence has been brought forward that in recent years Balad has done anything to act upon the extremist sections of its platform.”