Avigdor Liberman, head of the right-wing Israel Beitenu party and current Foreign Minister of Israel, is making efforts to get the newly formed United List of Hadash and the Arab parties disqualified from running in the upcoming elections. According to the settler website, Arutz Sheva, Liberman’s petition is based on the claim that Balad, one of the parties participating in the list, “supports terrorism.”
Among Liberman’s previous campaigns was proposed legislation which would strip citizenship from Israeli citizens who refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the Jewish state. His party’s 2009 election campaign slogans were “Only Liberman understands Arabic,” and “No citizenship without loyalty.”
Meanwhile, public opinion polls have the united Hadash and Arab parties slate winning between 11 and 15 seats in the next Knesset — and the base of voters for the four constituent parties is extremely loyal. By contrast, today there is actually a chance that Israel Beitenu, whose popularity has been seriously impaired due to recent corruption-related allegations and high-level party resignations, may not receive enough votes to sit in the next Knesset. Ironically, it was Lieberman himself who brought about this situation. Last year, he and Israel Beitenu spearheaded passage of legislation that raised the threshold for entering the Knesset from 2.0 to 3.25 percent of the votes cast, or a minimum of four seats. This essentially anti-democratic legislation which became law was intended by Lieberman & Co. to severely hurt the chances of Hadash and the Arab parties entering the next Knesset. The response of the latter was to form a united list, announced last Friday, January 23, to ensure that all its participating parties will be represented in the Knesset after the upcoming March elections.
In response to Liberman’s petition to have the united slate disqualified from running in the coming elections, Hadash has released the following statement: “It is obvious that this so-called petition is yet another populist move on the part of the racist Liberman… And it is even clearer that this petition is an expression of the fear gripping him as he watches his party’s collapse in the polls in contrast to that of the United List. We will see the response to the racism of the right on election day, when the United List wins more than 15 seats in the Knesset.”