The Knesset passed a bill on Wednesday, February 10 in an initial reading that would impose political repercussions against members of Knesset who demonstrate support for terrorism against the State of Israel.
The bill would augment clause 7a of Israel’s “Basic Law,” which states that a party may not run for Knesset if the party’s actions or objectives or the actions of a member of the party result in the negation of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, in incitement to racism, or in support of an armed effort by an enemy state or terrorist organization against the State of Israel.
The bill, sponsored by MK Oded Forer (of Yisrael Beiteinu), would amend the existing law to add that any individual who makes statements inciting or supporting terrorism will also not be allowed to run for Knesset.
MK Forer said that such legislation had not been previously included in the bill. “Everyone I have spoken to thinks that it seems obvious and that it is already the law, but I have told them that it actually is not. The existing law does not apply to the statements of individuals,” Forer told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
The bill was endorsed by a vote of 44-36 just over a week after three Arab MKs from the Joint List visited the families of terrorists who had murdered or attempted to murder Israeli civilians during the current wave of terrorism.
Forer praised the initial approval of the bill. “Statements have been made by Arab MKs recently against the State of Israel inciting terror and supporting terrorists. They must not continue to serve as MKs and I hope that we will not see these inciters in the halls of the Knesset during the next term,” Forer said.
Forer also told TPS that the bill was presented six months ago and was due to be up for debate two weeks ago. However, Forer said that he had agreed to postpone the initial reading of the bill in order to negotiate the precise wording of the draft.
“I am happy that the government supported me in the end. The government could not ignore this and could not allow the bill to pass without supporting it.” He added that the visit of the three Arab MKs was probably the decisive factor in garnering governmental support.
“I think a very significant incident that caused the government to support the bill was the condolence visit by the MKs to the families of the terrorists honoring them as if they were martyrs,” he concluded.
Prime Minister Netanyahu strongly criticized the three Arab MKs in a speech at the Knesset earlier in the week. “We are not prepared to accept a situation in which MKs support the families of those who murder Israeli citizens and who honor the terrorists who killed our children. There is a limit. There is something called national respect,” he said.
The Ethics Committee ruled on Monday following a complaint filed by Netanyahu that Hanin Zoabi and Basel Ghattas would be banned from Knesset sessions and committees for four months while Jamal Zahalka would be banned for two months. The banned MKs will not be permitted to participate in votes in the Knesset nor in its committees.