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Israel: Qualifications for Participating in General Election

(Jan. 27, 2009) On January 21, 2009, the Supreme Court of Israel voided the decision of the 18th Knesset (Parliament) Central Election Committee (CEC) to disqualify two lists of Arab candidates from running in the upcoming February 10, 2009, parliamentary elections. The basis for the disqualification had been their alleged non- recognition of the State of Israel as both “Jewish and democratic,” as required by Basic Law: The Knesset. The lists are the United Arab Lists Ta'al and Balad. (Press Release, the Central Election Committee for the 18th Knesset [in Hebrew] (Jan. 15, 2009), available at Both disqualified lists are currently represented in the outgoing Knesset.

An extended panel of nine justices accepted the appeals lodged against the CEC's decision and will issue its reasoning at a later time. The Supreme Court already determined the grounds for disqualification in a similar case in 2003. (Election Appeal 561/09 Balad & Ra-am-Ta'al v. the CEC et al. [in Hebrew], The State of Israel: The Judicial Authority website, (last visited Jan. 21, 2009); Election Approval 11280/02 The Central Election Committee for the 16th Knesset v. Ahmed Tibi et al., 57(4) Piske Din [Decisions of the Supreme Court] 1 (5763/64-2003).)