Arab, right-wing lawmakers trade barbs

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Arab member and a right-wing member of Knesset traded barbs as they arrived at an Israeli Supreme Court hearing.

The high court on Tuesday began deliberating a challenge to the decision of the Central Elections Committee to bar two Arab parties, Balad and the United Arab List-Ta’al, from upcoming national elections.

"You’re a terrorist representing terrorists," Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman said to United Arab List lawmaker Taleb a-Sanaa before the hearing. "We’ll deal with you like with any other terrorist, like we dealt with Hamas."

A-Sanaa replied, "You are a new immigrant, you can’t even speak Hebrew and you’re constantly inciting. You come here to gain votes at the expense of the Arab public. You are an enemy of the state."

United Arab list lawmaker Ahmad Tibi called Lieberman a fascist.

The exchange occurred in front of reporters.

The parties, represented by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, filed a 500-page appeal with the court Monday.

The elections panel disqualified the parties based on petitions claiming that the parties do not recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland and call for armed conflict against Israel. Lieberman filed one of the petitions.

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