Lifting a rare court order which had forbidden the publication of the existence of a gag order concerning an investigation into Balad Chairman Azmi Bishara, Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court on Sunday ruled that the press could discuss the existence of the probe, but not its substance.Prior to the Sunday ruling, the press was forbidden even to discuss either the existence of the investigation or the order that forbade its publication.The court rejected the request of the Balad party, Haaretz and other media outlets to remove the gag order, and said that the details of the investigation must not yet be released, as Bishara has yet to appear before the court.The court added that "the investigation is being carried out cautiously by senior investigation officials and under the supervision of the attorney general."Exposure of the suspicions against Bishara, it said, would "significantly and tangibly harm the progress of the investigation."Following the hearing, MK Jamal Zahalka, chairman of the Balad Knesset faction, said, "I am willing to refer to the investigation if media outlets release my statements. We are being subjected to a mudslinging campaign without the ability to respond, and we are seeking to expose the truth."Zahalka said Balad, and Bishara himself, were suffering political persecution and that police were misusing the gag order for their own ends."Someone is consciously disseminating false news stories to the media, and this causes harm, first and foremost, to us," he said.On Friday, Bishara lashed out against the country's Hebrew-language media, accusing them of incitement against him."The publication of a photograph of my home and its address in newspapers constitutes incitement to murder. It makes me rethink my position as a Knesset member," Bishara said in an exclusive interview to the Nazareth radio station A-Shams, his first interview to electronic media since leaving Israel three weeks ago.Bishara said he would grant interviews to other Arabic-language media outlets over the coming days.Bishara was guarded in his remarks because of the impossibility of discussing the reasons behind the announcement of his probable resignation from the Knesset.In an interview to the Taibeh-based Arabic magazine Panorama, Bishara said that the nationalist stream within the Arab public was threatening to Israel. "We do pose a threat, and that's why we are seen as a danger," Bishara said. "It would be illogical if we weren't seen as a danger and if we were not opposed," he said, adding, "we stand against the defective situation of those who are connected to Israelization and to the regime."
"we stand against the defective situation of those who are connected to Israelization and to the regime."
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