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11 Emory Int'l L. Rev. 67 (1997)
Disqualification of Political Parties in Israel: 1988-1996

handle is hein.journals/emint11 and id is 79 raw text is: DISQUALIFICATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN
ISRAEL: 1988-1996*
Raphael Cohen-Almagor**
Although this essay updates and supplements a previous study published in
1994 in Law and Philosophy about disqualification of political lists in Isra-
el,' it is mainly concerned with the developments that have since taken place
in the law. In 1988 and 1992, appeals were made to disqualify parties from
running for elections. In 1996, similar appeals were made to prevent the
registration of two parties. My aim is to review the decisions of the Central
Elections Committee (CEC) and of the Supreme Court with regard to disqual-
ification of parties. This essay addresses two basic questions: when should
tolerance have its limits, and what constraints on liberty should be introduced
in order to safeguard democracy and minority groups?
This article argues that it is neither morally obligatory, nor morally coherent,
to expect democracy to place the means for its own destruction in the hands
of those who either wish to bring about the annihilation of the state, or to
undermine democracy, and who take active steps to realize those ends. These
two cases are the only ones in which democracy must introduce self-defen-
sive measures and deny parties registration and representation in parliament.
Thus, when a political party bases its platform on discrimination and disre-
spect for others, aiming to harm some people and to undermine democracy, it
should be disqualified as Kach was in 1988 and in 1992, and as Kahane Is
Alive was in 1992. Before considering these decisions, however, let me pro-
vide the necessary background for the matters at hand. Specifically, I wish to
discuss Section 7a of the Basic Law: The Knesset.
* An early draft containing analysis of the 1988 and 1992 elections was published in the proceedings
of the 16th IVR World Congress under the title Disqualification of Lists in 1988 and 1992: A Comparative
Analsis. in LAW, JUSTICE AND THE STATE 88-103 (Michael Troper & Mikael M. Karlsson eds., 1995).
** (D. Phil., Oxon), Department of Communication and Faculty of Law, The University of Haifa.
I am grateful to Geoffrey Marshall for his thorough remarks, and to Amir Zolty, Senior Assistant to
the Attorney General, for his valuable assistance.
' Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Disqualification of Lists in Israel (1948-1984): Retrospect and Appraisal,
13 LAW & PHIL. 43 (1994).

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