Two Arab parties face ban from Israeli election

The Israeli electoral commission has decided to ban two Arab parties from upcoming general elections on the grounds that they are "anti-Zionist".The decision is not final but it illustrates the tension between Israel's Arab and Jewish politicians.


Reuters - Two Arab parties face disqualification from next month's Israeli elections after a parliamentary committee voted against their participation on Monday saying their platforms were anti-Zionist.


The Central Elections committee, which is responsible for overseeing the electoral process, ruled the Balad and Raam-Taal parties should be disqualified because they were calling for an end to Jewish rule in the majority Jewish state.


Representatives of the two parties stormed out of the committee hearing when the decision was taken. They said they would appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court and expected to be reinstated ahead of the election, set for Feb. 10.


"This is a racist decision, the Knesset wants to be free of Arabs as a precursor to a country with no Arabs," said Ahmed Tibi, a member of Balad.


Israel's attorney general, whose opinion on the matter could be taken into consideration by the Supreme Court, said he was against the disqualification.


Israel's Arabs make up about 20 percent of the country's 7.4 million people. There are 10 Arab representatives, representing three separate lists, in the 120-member Knesset.


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