Members of the the new Meretz alignment reacted angrily to the decision.Isn't one of the marks of a democracy allowing any qualified person freedom to stand for election? Banning political parties that claim to represent a vital demographic of the country is anti-democratic and verges on the authoritarian. It's just a wrong thing to do.
"Labor and Kadima's position is a declaration of war on Israel's Arab citizens," a party member said. "Do Barak and Livni really prefer blocking Israel's Arabs' right to parliamentary activity and driving them to street demonstrations?"
"Every time a clear statement to ensure basic civil rights of the Arab minority is required, Labor and Kadima choose to side with the radical right wing for populist motives, to deprive the Arabs of their fundamental democratic rights," party chairman Haim Oron said.
Arab lawmakers Ahmed Tibi and Zahalka, political rivals who head the two Arab blocs in the Knesset, joined together in condemning yesterday's decision.
"It was a political trial led by a group of fascists and racists who are willing to see the Knesset without Arabs and want to see the country without Arabs," said Tibi.
*** UPDATE ***
The ban has now been overturned. There is more information here.
Thanks to Will.
*** UPDATE THE SECOND ***
Thanks to the commenter formerly SIAW.