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Resource: Israeli elections and Palestinian parliamentarians

Who are the leading Arab candidates in the upcoming Knesset elections? Who is trying to ban them from running, and how? How did such attempts end in previous elections? How many Palestinian citizens can vote in the Knesset elections, and how many are expected to vote? A Q&A by the human rights organization Adalah answers those questions, and more.

By Adalah

MK Hanin Zoabi (photo: Oren Ziv/

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Questions and Answers Israeli Elections Arab Parliamentarians 2012

Adalah (“Justice” in Arabic) is an independent human rights organization and legal center. Established in November 1996, it works to promote and defend the rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, 1.2 million people, or 20 percent of the population, as well as Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

Who gets to vote in Israel’s democracy?
Why do Israeli pollsters, media ignore the Palestinians?
It’s all about the blocs: Understanding Israeli election polls

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    1. XYZ

      I oppose all attempts to stifle political activity and ALL parties should be able to run for the Knesset, as long as they don’t advocate violence. This means Arab parties without any requirement to “recognize Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state” PLUS all Jewish parties including the Kahanists.
      In any event, MK’s like Zoabi are doing Israelis an importart service by pointing out that important streams of Arab opinion oppose any recognition of israel and oppose peace with Israel. Thus Israelis can draw the proper conclusions in how to confront the Arab-Israeli conflict.

      Reply to Comment
    2. rsgengland

      The only party even banned from the Knesset was the Kahanists.
      Attempts have been made to ban either parties or individuals.
      Because Israel has the only independant High Court and Appeals Court in the entire Middle East and North Africa, the possibility of being banned from the Knesset have to date been largely unsuccessful.
      Democracy may not be perfect or ideal in Israel, but at least it exists in all its robust glory.
      Islam is still defining its relationship to Democracy, and if Europes journey to Democracy in its relationship to Christianity is anything to go by, its got a long and rocky road to go yet.
      Democracy is more than just voting in elections.
      Democracy is listening to and negotiating with your opponents, not just beating them in elections.
      Democracy is about conceding defeat, and the peaceful transition of power from the losing incumbents to the winning opposition.
      Democracy is not about reserving places for minorities based on colour, creed, religion or any other group. That paves the way for potential racism in the future

      Reply to Comment
      • “Democracy is listening to and negotiating with your opponents, not just beating them in elections.”

        This is especially needed in Parliaments using slate lists. But there is no incentive to do so once elected.

        Reply to Comment
        • Piotr Berman

          Of course democracy is not about merely beating up the opponents in the elections! One can try to beat them up after they are elected too!

          I do not know what does it mean “robust glory” of democracy in Israel. Consider the attitude of the public toward public officials who get rich (at least, moderately rich) through shady deals, e.g. unexplained generosity of Russian gangsters toward their drivers and daughters and parking the proceeds and the entire documentation in Cyprus and Belorus.

          At least in a civilized country like USA the profits would be parked in Cayman Islands, but Belorus? Please!

          Another aspect of Israeli democracy is an enormous role of foreign money in politics. Allegedly, Netanyahu won primaries while being financed almost entirely from abroad, but this is but one example.

          Also it is a bit weird for a democracy to deny the right of being called non-democratic.

          Reply to Comment
          • The rule of law is the primary check on democracy, absent internal electorial rebellion. Consider that Lieberman has been indicted. Many major Israeli politicians have been; Rabin’s wife was, too. I think one of the constitutional checks that has indeed evolved in Israel is indictment; but this is a way of leveling top players under extreme gain, meaning little for rights protection. But it is there, an internal, Israeli evolution.

            My point, above, was that in an all slate system there is no incentive to negotiate beyond the government coalition. So you can indeed beat others up, even in the Knesset, as is done, as you say.

            I can’t read all your comment, sorry. Something about my old browser, I guess. Last bit of extended statements is truncated.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Article 7A (ii): “incitement to racism” as reason to disqualify candidates.

      Was not the South Tel Aviv race riot, sparked by rallies involving sitting MKs, an example of “incitement to racism”?

      Reply to Comment
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