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Should social media posts disqualify Israeli Arab legislator?

An attempt to block Arab Knesset member Heba Yazbak from running in the March elections for allegedly voicing support for a terrorist raises the issue of whether the same should apply to Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir.

On Jan. 29, the Israeli Central Elections Committee will debate three petitions calling for Balad Knesset member Heba Yazbak to be barred from running for reelection on the Joint List. The petitioners — Knesset members Ofir Katz (Likud), Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu), and the extremist right-wing party Otzma Yehudit — charge that Yazbak supports terrorism and rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

Appended to the petitions are a slew of remarks said to prove that Yazbak praises terrorists. For example, the day after the killing of Samir Kuntar in December 2015, she posted his photo on her Facebook page and wrote, “I did not return from Palestine [referencing his years in an Israeli jail] only in order to return to Palestine” and referred to him as “al-shahid al-mujahid,” which roughly translates as “martyred warrior.”

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