Yisrael Beytenu will continue to run under the slogan "Ariel for Israel, Umm al-Fahm for Palestine," the Central Elections Committee (CEC) declared Wednesday.
CEC Chairman Justice Salim Jubran shot down a petition from Meretz MK Issawi Freij against the center-right party for the slogan, claiming that it discriminated against Israeli Arabs by proposing to give away their national rights. The slogan refers to Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman's "Triangle Plan" to swap a specific slice of Israeli land – one which is primarily Israeli Arab – to keep settlement blocs in Judea-Samaria with the international community's approval.
In the petition, the complaint said that the slogan is "representative of Liberman's politics in general," citing remarks he made at a press conference presenting the campaign whereby Liberman vowed to ensure that MKs Hanin Zoabi and Ahmed Tibi (Balad) and Sheikh Raed Salah were made Palestinian Authority (PA) citizens and then booted from the Knesset.
In his decision, Judge Jubran said that "… there is no authority to disqualify an entire campaign, including the party's platform" – possibly for technical reasons.
"It seems to me that this issue is closer to the issue of the authority of the Central Election Commission to disqualify candidates or lists of candidates in accordance to the grounds set forth in paragraph 7a of the Basic Law: Committee, and this is of course without making a statement on the issue here itself," he noted.
Ultimately, however, while Jubran stated his own personal unease with the party's slogan, he did not rule against it.
"Independently of the issue of the relationship between the party platform and the slogan itself, it is quite possible (and even likely) that an Israeli citizen who lives in Umm al-Fahm, such as the petitioner, will understand slogan that the party has espoused that he and his neighbors transfer to another country," he said. "The idea of what message this brings to the Israeli Arab minority is not a comforting one, to say the least."