A day after the central elections committee decided to disqualify Arab parties Balad and United Arab List-Ta'al from running in the upcoming elections, Balad's political bureau announced it would petition the High Court of Justice to overturn the decision.
"We decided to exhaust all possible measures in order to be able to take part in the elections," said Balad MK Jamal Zahalka on Tuesday. "We think that the notion represented in our platform calling for 'a state of all its citizens' is democratic and should not be outlawed," he added.
While the committee's decision was not surprising, the party's members said that it reflected a trend of rightist radicalization in the political arena. "Avigdor Lieberman is the one who demanded that Balad be disqualified, and it turns out that in Israeli politics he can set the boundaries of right and wrong of political discourse.
"Lieberman succeeded yesterday in leading Israel's centric parties by the nose, and if they continue following him, he'll become the next prime minister," said Zahalka.
Balad MK Said Naffaa told Ynet that the decision to disqualify his party was motivated by political considerations. "It is our duty, as the representatives of hundreds of thousands of voters, to make sure that we are represented at the Knesset."
Six years ago the elections committee disqualified Balad and its leader at the time, Azmi Bishara, from running for the 16th Knesset. The party appealed to the High Court, which overturned the decision.