The Supreme Court has struck down a petition against the Knesset law which raised the electoral threshold from 2 percent to 3.25 percent — a change that effectively forces Arab parties to run in joint slates in order to gain Knesset representation. Eight justices dismissed the petition with the only opposition coming from the court’s sole Arab justice, Salim Joubran. The court’s reasons were not specified due to the tight timeline before the March 17 election, requiring that all lists be presented by the end of this month. The majority included outgoing President of the Court Asher Grunis as well as the incoming President Justice Miriam Naor, joined by Justices Esther Hayut, Neal Hendel, Hanan Melcer, Uzi Vogelman, Yoram Danziger and Elyakim Rubinstein. Justice Joubran found himself odd man out on the bench — just as he was in another recent ruling, supported by four other Jewish judges, to suspend MK Haneen Zoabi from the Knesset.
Knesset members are expected to make it tougher for others to join their ranks Tuesday, by voting to raise the threshold for entering the Knesset to 3.25 percent of valid votes in a general election. It was not yet clear how all the Hatnuah and Habayit Hayehudi MKs were planning to vote on the so-called Governance Bill. Monday’s debate on the bill took place without the opposition MKs, who were boycotting the session. Several Hatnuah MKs were critical of the governance bill, which some say will reduce the number of Arab MKs because there are far fewer Arab voters than Jewish ones, making it harder for Arab candidates to get enough votes to push them over the threshold.