Israel’s Supreme Court on Sunday said an Arab lawmaker could run in the upcoming elections, after overturning a parliamentary committee’s decision to disqualify her over her alleged support to “terrorists.”
A nine-justice panel ruled that Heba Yazbak, a lawmaker with Balad, a national Palestinian party that calls for full rights for Israel’s Arab citizens, could stand in Israel’s national elections on March 2.
The ruling said there was “little evidence” that Yazbak supports terrorism.
The judges referred to two posts on Yazbak’s Facebook account, one of which was about Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese convicted of perpetrating an attack in northern Israel in 1979 which killed five Israelis, was “a shahid,” or “a martyr” in Arabic.
The justices also noted that Yazbak “express regret” over the posts.
The Joint List party, a coalition of Arab-Jewish parties that includes Yazbak’s Balad party, wrote on Twitter that the ruling demonstrates that the attempt to bar Yazbak is part of the right-wing’s campaign to “delegitimize Arab lawmakers.”
In January, the parliament’s Central Elections Committee decided to disqualify Yazbak following requests by several right-wing parties.
The Central Elections Committee authorizes parties and candidates ahead of votes. The committee is made up of lawmakers from several political parties and chaired by a Supreme Court justice.
The committee attempted several times in the past to bar Arab parties and lawmakers from running over alleged “disloyalty” to Israel, but its decisions were overruled by the Supreme Court on appeal. Enditem