The Degel Hatorah party met on Tuesday with Hagaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and Hagaon Rosh Yeshivah Gershon Edelstein regarding the disqualification of Arab Joint List MK Heba Yazbak (Balad) for running for the Knesset in the upcoming elections.
A petition was filed by Likud MK Ofir Katz to the Central Elections Committee to disqualify Yazbak in light of her public statements supporting terrorists, including Samir Kuntar, who killed a four-year-old girl in Nahariya in 1979 by smashing her head on rocks after shooting her father, Danny Haran, in front of her. Kuntar was released in 2008 in exchange for the bodies of IDF reserve soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser and later became a senior Hezbollah terrorist. When he died in an explosion near Damascus in 2015, Yazbak posted a picture of him and wrote: “The martyr fighter Samir Kuntar.”
The right-wing parties are backing the petition as well as Blue & White and some members of the Labor-Gesher-Meretz merger.
On one hand, Degel H’Torah wants to vote for Yazbak’s disqualification for the same reasons the other parties are voting for it. But on the other hand, voting for her disqualification will alienate Joint List chairman Ahmad Tibi and currently Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni and Tibi, who is on the Finance Committee, cooperate on many issues of joint interest. Tibi has already announced that if Blue and White votes for Yazbak’s disqualification, it ends their chance of any potential agreement with the Joint List.
Since there is already a majority who will vote for Yazbak’s disqualification, Degel H’Torah’s vote won’t affect the decision but on the other hand, refraining from disqualifying someone who openly supports terror could cause a chillul Hashem and also alienate potential Dati Leumi voters, some of whom have been voting for Yahadus H’Torah due to the recent constant changes and splits in the Dati Leumi parties.
During the meeting with HaRav Edelstein, it was mentioned that in the past Hagaon Harav Aryeh Leib Shteinman, z’tl, instructed Degal HaTorah to support the disqualification of Balad MK Haneen Zoavi from the Knesset due the fact that “she speaks against Am Yisrael to the world.”
HaRav Edelstein did not make a decision on how the MKs should vote but it’s believed that Degel HaTorah will vote for her disqualification during the hearing next week.
Immediately after the meeting of Degel H’Torah with HaRav Edelstein, a group of current and past Ponevezh talmidim came to the Rosh Yeshivah’s home and the Rosh Yeshivah delivered a special shiur.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)