MKs Oppose Postponing Election

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The majority of Israeli Knesset members (MKs) oppose postponing national elections because of the operation in the Gaza Strip.

The Likud, Labor, Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu and Meretz parties, none of which want the election postponed, together make up 59 of the 120-seat parliament.

Kadima, which holds 29 seats in the present government, also generally opposes postponing the elections, though Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, who came in third in the Kadima primaries, believes it should be discussed if the Gaza op continues through next week.

National Union/National Religious Party, which currently holds nine mandates, opposes postponement, but also wants to see how the operation in Gaza stands next week.

The Pensioners party, which holds seven seats in the outgoing government and the Arab parties with a combined total of 10 seats want national elections postponed.

Nurit Elstein, who serves as legal advisor for the Knesset, said it would take 80 MKs and "special circumstances" to postpone national elections.

In an interview on Israel Radio last week, retired High Court justice Mishael Cheshin, who served as chairman of the Central Elections Committee, said the fighting in Gaza does not justify postponing national elections.

All major parties ceased campaign activities during the operation in the Gaza Strip. The election is scheduled for February 10.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Central Elections Committee voted 26-3 to disqualify two Israeli Arab parties -- Balad and  Ra'am Ta'al (United Arab List) -- from running in the upcoming election.

"The public cannot understand what is happening in our country," Yoam Meni, legal counsel for Yisrael Beiteinu told committee members.

"How can it be that a Knesset member travels to Arab countries with an Israeli diplomatic passport and takes part in Hezbollah conferences and [attends] funerals of arch-terrorists?" he asked.

"They call Yom Ha'atzma'ut [Israeli Independence Day] their Nakba [Catastrophe]...The [Arab] Knesset members say outright that Israel cannot be a Jewish state," he said.

The High Court, which has overruled disqualifying Arab parties in the past, is expected to do the same this time.

"Everyone knows that in the end, the High Court will overturn [the decision]," Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (Ta'al) said.

Sources: Haaretz, israel national news 

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