TEL AVIV (Jun. 19)
The Central Elections Committee voted 17-12 late last night to bar the “Progressive List For Peace,” a coalition of Israeli Arabs and Jews, from participation in the July 23 Knesset elections.
The vote, taken at about midnight after hours of debate, followed by a day the Election Committee’s decision to excluded Rabbi Meir Kahane’s extreme rightwing Kach party from the elections. Supreme Court Justice Gavriel Bach, chairman of the Committee, obstained in the voting as did three members of the Labor Alignment. Bach said that material about the faction submitted with its application was ambivalent.
He said he was influenced to abstain by the Progressive List representative’s statements to the committee critical of Israel’s proclamation of independence, its Law of Return and his equivocal position toward the Palestine Liberation Organization. On the other hand, Bach said, there were factors in favor of the new faction. The National Religious Party and the Aguda Israel, which had supported Kahane’s list, voted to bar the Progressive List.
The list, headed by an Arab nationalist attorney, Mohammed Miari, has been under scrutiny by security agencies for some time because of its advocacy of a Palestinian state. But Defense Minister Moshe Arens has declined to outlaw it, which he could do on national security grounds under the emergency regulations of the old Palestine mandate which have been retained in Isareli law.