Israeli Knesset members arguing in parliament..
(photo credit: KNESSET CHANNEL)
The Knesset approved in a preliminary vote on Wednesday legislation that would bar anyone who publicly calls to boycott Israel or part of Israel from entering the country.
The bill by MK Yinon Magal (Bayit Yehudi), which passed with 55 in favor and 31 unopposed, prohibits giving a visa or residency status to anyone who calls for such a boycott, though the interior minister has the authority to overrule the ban in special cases.
"Whoever calls for a boycott, will not come here and will stay out," Magal said, adding that the bill "makes it clear to those who hate us that it's over."
Interior Minister Silvan Shalom said the bill "undoubtedly goes very far and must be discussed measuredly and allow exceptions and limits. The government supports it as long as it is legislated in coordination with the government."
MK Dov Hanin (Joint List), however, said "it is hard to explain how stupid this bill is."
According to Hanin, the coalition is treating the country like a closed fortress, and in light of the EU decision to label settlement products, the bill will keep all of Europe out and encourage boycotts of Israel.