The Central Elections Committee is set to meet on Thursday to debate requests to bar the Knesset campaign of pro-Hamas Arab MK Hanin Zoabi, as well as Otzma Yehudit's Baruch Marzel and Avigdor Liberman of Yisrael Beytenu.
While similar requests against Marzel have been rejected in the past, and Liberman is likewise expected to have the petition dropped against him, many anticipate there is a good chance Zoabi will finally pay the price for openly supporting a terrorist organization committed to the genocide of Jews in its charter.
Two requests have been filed against Zoabi, one by Yisrael Beytenu MKs and another by Likud MKs. Marzel has likewise submitted a petition against the Arab parties, which includes Zoabi.
However, even before the discussion, it was reported on Tuesday night by Haaretz that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein plans to publish an opinion in advance opposing the barring of Zoabi.
The opinion could further influence the vote of Labor and Hatnua party representatives in the committee, as after initially promising to support the ban on Zoabi, saying she "crossed all the red lines of tolerance and democracy," Labor submitted to the threats of the united Arab parties not to back Labor during the coalition-building period after the election, and backtracked on its support.
It could also influence the High Court decision on the issue, as the court would field the topic if it passes the committee.
Weinstein took the unusual step of issuing the opinion, sending it to Zoabi's lawyer, Attorney Hassan Jabarin of the Adalah Legal Center.
In the past, Adalah sought to legalize NGO support for marking of the the "Nakba" – the "catastrophe" of Israel's existence.
Asking for a declaration to defend Zoabi
The Attorney General's office requested a declaration signed by Zoabi clarifying her position on the numerous anti-Israel statements and acts that are listed in the petitions against her.
According to sources involved in the proceedings, the fact that Weinstein asked for a signed declaration by Zoabi and not just a letter from her lawyer indicates that Weinstein opposes her barring, and is seeking explanations that would support his stance.
In the declaration, Zoabi states "I never called to support armed struggle; I never supported armed struggle; I never wrote an article supporting armed struggle and I never gave a speech siding with this type of struggle."
Belying her claims, in one statement to Russian media cited in the petitions against her, Zoabi said "I have no problem with Iran, and I am very supportive of all the groups fighting the occupation of the Palestinians by Israel. I certainly support any and all groups fighting the occupation."
She also said the Hamas terrorists who murdered the three Israeli teens last summer were "not terrorists." She wrote an article encouraging Hamas on the terror group's website, and was briefly handcuffed during violent pro-Palestinian protests in Haifa.
Likewise she took part in the infamous 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla which sought to breach Israel's legal blockade of the Hamas enclave of Gaza, and during which "humanitarian" activists assaulted IDF soldiers with lethal weapons en masse.
It is of note that Weinstein, in contrast to his apparent support of Zoabi, recently was critical of Marzel's refusal to shake the hand of Central Elections Committee chair Arab judge Salim Joubran, which Marzel said he did due to Joubran's blatantly anti-Israel and anti-IDF stance.
Weinstein wrote to Joubran slamming the "racist" refusal to shake his hand, even though as Marzel noted his protest had nothing to do with Joubran's race, but rather his antagonism and hostility to the state.