Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) arrived at the High Court on Monday morning to submit his party's petition against the decision by Central Elections Committee chair judge Salim Joubran, who forbid the party from handing out copies of Charlie Hebdo.
"We think that the decision against distributing the magazine also by store chains (Steimatzky - ed.) and also by the Central Elections Committee is a submission to threats and to extortion by threats," said Liberman as he submitted the petition.
The decision comes after 12 people were murdered at the satire magazine's Paris headquarters by Islamist terrorists last month over its cartoons of Mohammed, the founder of Islam. The latest edition features a cartoon of Mohammed on the cover.
Liberman explained "I don't have any particular sympathy for Charlie Hebdo which published a good amount of material against Judaism, against Jews and against Israel, but I always return to the statement by Voltaire stating 'I don't agree with you, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it' – that needs to be a principle."
"This selective approach to freedom of speech is one of the greatest problems of the Israeli left, and I'm sorry that aside from us no one else is dealing with this issue, and no one else is submitting (petitions) to the High Court," he said. "I'm sure that in the end the High Court will accept our position."
Liberman also fired back at Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud), who on Sunday night criticized Yisrael Beytenu's declaration that it would demand the post of defense minister as a condition to joining any coalition.
Ya'alon had said "you don't get the security portfolio with harsh words and slogans."
Responding in turn, Liberman said "I'm sure Boogie (Moshe) Ya'alon was an excellent soldier, but unfortunately as defense minister no one takes him seriously, not our Arab neighbors, Hamas and Hezbollah, and not even the Americans."
"To this day Ya'alon has primarily stood out for his slips of the tongue, and afterwards for running to apologize to the Americans," charged Liberman. "His management against Hamas and Hezbollah and towards the United States didn't add to the honor of the state of Israel, nor to our determent."