Anti-Zionist Balad party elects new leader

Balad is an anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish State party that is nevertheless permitted to serve in Israel’s parliament.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Sami Abu Shehadeh, 45, a resident of Jaffa, was elected the new head of the Arab party Balad on Saturday night by a vote of 230-159 in the party’s primaries. He replaces former leader Mtanes Shihadeh.

Balad may fairly be described as an anti-Israel party that serves in Israel’s parliament. It opposes Zionism and a Jewish State, couching its opposition as support for a “state for all its citizens.”

In October, the Arab parties in the Knesset voted against the UAE-Israel peace deal.

Abu Shehadeh, the newly elected leader of Balad, said then: “This is one of the largest arms deals that Israel has made in recent years… If this is Israeli peace – we do not want it.”

“As part of the Palestinian people, we are fighting for peace, justice and equality for all citizens,” he said.

Balad is part of the Joint List, a group of four Arab parties that won 15 seats in the last election, making it the third-largest faction in Israel’s parliament. However, it looks like the Joint List is disintegrating ahead of the March 23 elections as one of the parties, Ra’am, or the United Arab List, was reported to be pulling out.

Israel’s Supreme Court has overturned numerous decisions to ban the Balad party or its individual members. Most recently, the court overturned a ban on MK Heba Yazbak by the Central Elections Committee for, among other things, praising a particularly vicious terrorist as a “martyred warrior.”

In March 2020, Yazbak introduced her plan to divest Israel of its “Jewish and Zionist existence” in two Arabic interviews, Arutz 7 reports.

The Supreme Court also overturned a ban against Balad in 2003 by Israel’s Central Elections Committee, and in 2002, the court cancelled a trial against the party’s founder, Azmi Bishara, charged and indicted for supporting terror organizations.

The party has not let up on its incitement and support for terrorists. In June, the party commemorated the 90th anniversary of the execution of three terrorists who massacred Jews in Mandate-era Palestine via a post on its official Facebook page, referring to them as the “martyrs of the Al-Buraq revolution.”