Supreme Court allows extremists Zoabi, Marzel to run in upcoming elections

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court overturned a decision to disqualify Arab-Israeli lawmaker Hanin Zoabi and far-right Jewish activist Baruch Marzel from running in Israel’s March 17 elections.

The court ruled Wednesday afternoon by a vote of eight to one that the candidates could run in the upcoming national election. The decision, which was rushed due to the proximity of the election, was announced without reason.

Last week, the Central Elections Committee voted 27-6 to ban Zoabi, a Knesset member from the Arab-Israeli Balad party since 2009. The vote on Marzel, of the Yachad party, was 17-16.

Zoabi and Marzel previously have been banned from running in elections, most recently Zoabi in January 2013. The Supreme Court overturned those decisions.

Zoabi, who participated in the 2010 flotilla sail to Gaza to bust Israel’s blockade organized by the Islamic IHH group in Turkey, has been censured before for anti-Israel statements. Most recently she was suspended from the Knesset for statements she made encouraging Palestinian “popular resistance” and saying that the kidnappers of three Israeli teens, who later were murdered, were not terrorists.

Marzel, who headed the outlawed Kach movement after the death of Rabbi Meir Kahane, has previously run for Knesset.