Former Arab-Israeli lawmaker prosecuted for fraud by attorney general

Hanin Zoabi is accused of receiving donations from secret foreign sources and disguising them on official documents.

By World Israel News Staff

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit will prosecute former Knesset member Hanin Zoabi for forgery and fraud after a court on Tuesday rejected her lawyers’ objections during a hearing on the case.

Zoabi appeared for questioning with around 35 additional suspects, Ynet reported.

These suspects included former senior officials in the Balad Party, which is one of the political parties that represents Arab citizens of Israel.

Zoabi and the other suspects are accused of committing forgery and fraud-related offenses in their capacity as party members based on submission of documents to the state comptroller during 2013 general and local elections.

Mandelblit opted not to prosecute the party itself for criminal offenses.

In 2019, when Mandelblit decided to proceed with the investigation, Israel’s Channel 13 reported that Zoabi and others were suspected of receiving donations from secret foreign sources and disguising them on official documents.

At the time, Haaretz reported that Zoabi was suspected of using a fake document, falsifying corporate documents, and money laundering.

Balad has taken anti-Israel positions and there have been several failed attempts to ban it from running for Knesset. Its founder, Azmi Bishara, was indicted for supporting terrorist organizations.

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Zoabi is perhaps best known for participating in the Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010, which attempted to break through Israel’s sea blockade on the Gaza Strip. Though billed as as peaceful protest, when Israeli commandos bordered the flotilla they were set upon in a violent, premeditated attack. Zoabi defended her participation in the flotilla.

Zoabi has also compared Israel to Nazi Germany.

Zoabi announced she was retiring from the Knesset in December 2018, due to internal party regulations.