MK Hanin Zoabi is expected to plead guilty to the charges in a plea deal which will see her avoid jail time.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Controversial former MK Hanin Zoabi was charged Wednesday morning with fraud and forgery alongside 12 of her colleagues from the Arab Balad party.
The charges came after a years-long investigation into the party’s suspected fraudulent reporting practices, stemming from documents submitted to the State Comptroller in 2013 after two local elections.
While the details of the case have not been released to the public, it’s believed that the party did not properly disclose the source of donations it received in 2013, and did not accurately report the way the funds were spent during a 2015 election campaign.
The Nazareth-born politician is expected to plead guilty to the charges in a plea deal which will see her avoid jail time.
According to Israeli media, Zoabi and her colleagues will likely face fines ranging from 25,000 shekels ($7,770) to 75,000 shekels ($23,300).
Known for her fiery Knesset speeches, Zoabi retired from the Knesset in 2019, after serving for a decade.
In 2014, a statement she made appeared to empathize with the Hamas-affiliated terrorists who kidnapped and murdered three Jewish teenage boys in Judea and Samaria.
“They are not terrorists…they are people who see no other way to change their reality, so they are forced to use these means…at least until Israel wises up, and until Israeli society opens up and feels the pain of the other,” she told Radio 102FM.
Zoabi’s remarks sparked immediate backlash, and she was banned by the Knesset Ethics Committee for six months.
In 2010, Zoabi faced accusations of treason after sailing on the Turkish Mavi Marmara flotilla, which aimed to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
10 flotilla participants were killed in skirmishes between Israeli Navy commandos. Despite video footage from the scene which showed members of the flotilla stabbing Israeli forces, Zoabi referred to the soldiers as “murderers.”
Some lawmakers demanded at the time that Zoabi be stripped of her parliamentary immunity following the incident, but she was reprimanded instead.