Knesset winter session 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Less than a week after the Knesset voted to establish a parliamentary inquiry
committee to examine left-wing organizations’ foreign funding, MK Yariv Levin
(Likud) prepared on Sunday to introduce a bill that would allow the Interior
Ministry to deport or prevent the entry of foreign activists who harm Israel’s
security or image.
Levin is preparing the measure together with attorney
Hila Cohen of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel. Although it is not clear
when it will be officially filed with the Knesset secretary, the bill is fully
drafted, and Levin is recruiting additional co-sponsors for the
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It is not clear how much support the initiative will garner,
but after the recent vote on MK Fania Kirschenbaum’s (Israel Beiteinu)
inquiry-committee measure, the bill may enjoy strong momentum in its advance
through the Knesset.
The bill would authorize the interior minister “to
forbid entrance to Israel or to expel from Israel people defined as enemy agents
who harm Israel’s security or image,” the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel
It details specific types of activities defined as harming Israel’s
security, including denying the existence of the Holocaust, boycotting Israel or
Israeli products, and working to hold international court proceedings against
Israeli citizens because of activities carried out while serving in Israel’s
In the bill’s current form, the interior minister
would be authorized to forbid violators from spending time in Israel.
each and every generation, there are those who rise up against us to destroy us,
and as the State of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, we must act and do
everything that we can do to prevent and isolate these phenomena in Israel and
in the world,” the bill’s introduction reads.
“Today, there is no legal
basis whatsoever that allows the state to act and to express its desire to not
give legitimacy to those who act to negate – through initiatives, organization,
funding or practical acts – the justification for the existence of the State of
Israel, and also Israel’s actions taken for the defense, the security and the
welfare of its citizens,” the measure’s drafters explain.
“is designed to deal with all kinds of agents who are not citizens, immigrants
or qualified to be immigrants” who engage in activities including “fund-raising,
organizing protests, and incitement,” Cohen told The Jerusalem Post.
interior minister would be allowed to deport foreign activists already in
Israel, or deny entry to those trying to enter Israel, for either a limited
period or permanently.
The bill is a proposed amendment to the law
detailing the parameters for legal presence in Israel.
could also be placed on the list of non-welcome entities, meaning that the
organizations’ leaders would all be barred from entry.
also delineates an appeals process by which parties who feel that they have been
unfairly blocked from entry could appeal the interior minister’s
“This bill is critical because such activities have become very
common,” Cohen said.
“At least Israel, if it cannot prevent them from
doing what they do overseas, can at least make this statement that Israel will
not let people do it within its borders. Israel must say that we are not willing
for people to take these actions.”
The Association for Civil Rights in
Israel criticized the proposal on Sunday evening.
“From online reports
concerning Levin’s planned bill it seems this is another legislative attempt by
the current Knesset to silence critical voices, and falsely label all criticism
as illegitimate positions that undermine the very existence of the state,” ACRI
spokeswoman Ronit Sela said.
“Those familiar with the work of the
Interior Ministry know that its unofficial policy to date is to discourage
visitors who hold critical views of Israel’s policies from attempting to enter
the country. Were this harmful procedure to become a law, it would serve as a
clear warning sign of the declining state of our democracy by the hands of
members of Knesset who disregard democracy’s basic values and human rights.”