Zoabi confronts police at Temple Mount.
(photo credit: screenshot)
The Knesset did not end up voting as had been expected Wednesday on the ‘Haneen Zoabi bill,’ which would enable the legislature to remove the Balad MK from the Knesset immediately and permanently.
The legislation, proposed by MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu), would permit the Knesset to ban a legislator who encourages terrorism and acts against the state, even if he or she has not been convicted of a crime. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Likud faction Monday that he intended to support it as long as technical changes were made, such as requiring a special majority.
It passed Sunday in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and was due to be voted on in a preliminary reading at the Knesset Wednesday. But Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua), who heads the committee, appealed the decision, delaying the Knesset vote.
“The bill raises heavy legal questions that require clarification,” Livni wrote to cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblitt, explaining the appeal. She said the Knesset needed to wait for the courts to decide Zoabi’s fate.
Likud MK Danny Danon called Livni “Satan’s attorney” and said she should follow her Hatnua colleague Amir Peretz’s lead and resign.
Rotem said he was surprised by the appeal to his bill, which he said had support from almost every Jewish faction in the Knesset. He said he and his Yisrael Beytenu colleagues would continue fighting for the measure.
“There is no country in the world that enables people who undermine the basis of the country’s existence and support terrorist organizations to serve in their parliament,” Rotem said, blaming the appeal on “populistic and electoral reasons.”
The “Zoabi bill” is one of many that have caused tension recently between the parties in Netanyahu’s governing coalition. The “Jewish state” bill was also set to come to a vote in a preliminary reading at the Knesset Wednesday, but that vote was also postponed.