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Court orders media to list Arab parties by name
Elections committee chair accepts appeal by Dov Khenin of Hadash, which claimed that displaying Jewish parties separately while grouping Arab parties together in polls 'seriously offends principle of equality in elections'

Supreme Court Judge Eliezer Rivlin, chairman of the Elections Committee, ordered the media to refer to all Arab parties running for Knesset by name, rather than include them under the general category of "the Arab parties" when publishing poll results.

 

The decision followed an appeal made by Knesset Member Dov Khenin (Hadash), who claimed that the current mode of coverage prevents the public from distinguishing between the different parties.

 

"Cataloguing Hadash as an Arab party is an act that effectively undermines the basis of our goal – to create a common political foundation for Jews and Arabs," Khenin said.

 

In a letter he addressed to the chairman of the Elections Committee he added that the tendency to group the Arab parties together while Jewish parties are displayed separately "seriously offends the principle of equality in the elections."

 

Khenin said the additional harm was in preventing the public from becoming acquainted with the separate parties, their names, and their achievements. He said the harm to his party was worse because it is comprised of both Jews and Arabs.

 

"This coverage gives the mistaken impression that the political system in Isreal is dichotomously divided between the Arab lists and the Jewish lists, while the Jewish-Arab force united under the modern name Hadash has been active since before the establishment of the State," he said.

 

Justice Rivlin accepted the claim and ordered that each party be listed separately by the media whenever an election poll is made public.

 

Daniel Edelson contributed to this report

 

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