Call to Knesset Members to Vote Against Increasing the Election Threshold

The bill is an infringement of the individual and collective rights of Arab citizens who, like Jewish citizens and any citizens of a democratic country, are entitled to the right to a meaningful choice between various alternatives.

Adalah, together with partner civil society organizations, published the following ad in Ha’aretz newspaper in Hebrew on 9 March 2014. The Knesset will vote on this legislation on 11 March 2014.

This week the "Governance Bill" will be brought before the Knesset plenum for a second and third reading. The enactment of the bill will raise the qualifying electoral threshold to 3.25%.

We, civil society organizations in Israel, Palestinian organizations, joint Jewish-Arab organizations and human rights organizations, oppose this legislation and call on lawmakers not to lend their hand to this bill, the objective of which is to oust the Arab-Palestinian public from the political arena in Israel.

This step is a grave escalation of the legislation repeatedly introduced by the former and current Knessets, the purpose of which is to breach the national, collective, social, economic and political rights of Arab citizens in Israel.

The law in question is devastating and dangerous and seeks to irrevocably violate the political rights of Arab-Palestinian citizens in Israel. The enactment of the law will compel Arab citizens to enter into a forced political coalition in order to prevent their disappearance from political life in the Knesset. This demand, which is being made by the Jewish majority to the Arab minority, is racist and anti-democratic.

This harm to the Arab public is not only a violation of their collective rights but is also an infringement of the individual rights of Arab citizens who, like Jewish citizens and any citizens of a democratic country, are entitled to the right to a meaningful choice between various alternatives. Arab citizens must also be allowed to choose whether to support a party which advocates a socialist-secular platform, a religious party or a national party.

We warn that the result of this bill will be the exclusion of Arab citizens from the field of political representation, and will therefore constitute a fatal blow to the ability of Arab citizens to struggle politically for the realization of their rights. This step will also gravely impair the relations between Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel and the ability of the two communities to advance a relationship based on respect, dignity and equality.

We call on the members of the coalition in the Knesset to oppose this perilous law and to halt the attempt to banish Arab citizens from the political system!

Signatories: Sikkuy - the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, The Galilee Society – The Arab National Society for Health Research and Services, INJAZ - Center for Professional Arab Local Governance, Givat Haviva, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, IRAC - Israel Religious Action Center, New Israel Fund, The Abraham Fund Initiatives, Mossawa Center - The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, Women Against Violence, Ossim Shalom - Social Workers for Peace and Welfare, Tsofen - Diversity Through Technology, Kav Mahve - Promoting Equal Employment of Arab Academics, Keshev - The Center for the Protection of Democracy in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Shatil, Shutfut Sharaka, and Itach Maakai - Women Lawyers for Social Justice.