The Supreme Court overturned on Wednesday the decision to disqualify lawmakers Haneen Zoabi and Baruch Marzel from running in Israel’s election on March 17.
The original ruling was overturned by a majority of eight justices to one (Elkayam Rubinstein).
Due to their tight schedule, the court was forced to make the decision before next Sunday. However, the court published their ruling on Thursday without reason.
MK Zoabi (Balad) was barred from running on the Arab parties’ Joint List by a vote of 27-6 last week. In addition to Yisrael Beiteinu and Likud, which submitted the request, Zionist Union, Yesh Atid and the religious parties voted for disqualification. Only Meretz and the Joint List voted no.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein had advised against disqualification, saying that while Zoabi has made extreme and “worrying” remarks, there was insufficient proof that she supported armed struggle against Israel, which would merit disqualification under Israeli law.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Zoabi in the election is “a stain of shame on Israeli democracy which does not know how to defend itself.”
The decision to disqualify Baruch Marzel, of Eli Yishai’s new Yahad party, was narrowly approved by a vote of 17 to 16 a few hours later. Yesh Atid, Meretz, Zionist Union and the Joint List all voted for disqualification. Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and the religious parties voted against.
The request to ban Marzel was submitted by the Coalition Against Racism, an alliance of human rights groups. It argued that for years he was a key activist in Kach, which was barred from elections as a racist party in the 1980s and subsequently outlawed. Marzel has never publicly renounced Kach’s beliefs. The petitioners also claimed Marzel rejects Israel’s democratic identity and accused him of incitement to racism.