Top Arab Labor Candidate Has ‘No Problem’ with Zoabi

February 6, 2015  

Labor candidate and veteran journalist Zuhair Bahlul has “no problem” with Balad MK Hanin Zoabi, the Arab MK well-known for openly supporting Hamas, Channel 2 reports Friday. 

“I have no objection to Zoabi, no problem with her – I know her, of course, although we’re not in daily contact,” Bahlul, who is number 17 on the Labor list, stated to the news agency. Labor is currently poised to gain 22-25 seats in the upcoming Knesset, placing Bahlul in a very realistic spot for MK. 

When notified that the Labor party, in fact, does oppose Zoabi – and expressed support Thursday night for a petition in the Central Elections Committee against the MK to bar her from running – Bahlul said that he “has to speak to my party” and that he would “like to hear the arguments” behind the decision. 

Bahlul did not say that he necessarily opposed such a move, however. 

“I need to check the facts first, and then I will issue a response,” he said. 

On Thursday, Labor said it would support a campaign to expel Zoabi from the Knesset, following petitions filed both by Otzma Yehudit candidate Baruch Marzel of the Yachad – Ha’am Itanu list against the MK. 

The left-wing party would only support the move, however, if a petition was filed against Marzel as well – a decision which Marzel sharply criticized Friday as a symbol of leftists’ “warped values.”

“It doesn’t surprise me to hear that the friends of (radical Arab MKs Jamal) Zahalka and Ahmed Tibi, members of the party that defines itself as the ‘Zionist camp,’ seek to bar me from standing in elections – and at the same time are trying to form a coalition with the haters of Israel,” Marzel said Friday. 

“It was again proven that those who pity the cruel in the end are cruel to the righteous,” Marzel continued, in a play on a famous dictum of the Jewish sages.

Zoabi has been linked to Hamas on multiple occasions, and is infamous for provocative speeches, including one in which she said that Israel has “no right to a normal life,” and a later address claiming that “the Israeli occupation” was behind the murder of Israelis in Bulgaria.

Over the summer, Zoabi wrote an article encouraging Hamas on the terror group’s website, and was briefly handcuffed during violent pro-Palestinian protests in Haifa.  

Zoabi has been ejected from the Knesset before. Before the last elections, the Central Elections Committee banned Zoabi, under a clause requiring candidates and parties not to work against Israel’s character as a Jewish, democratic state. However, the Supreme Court later overturned the decision and allowed Zoabi to run.

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