Court upholds Bishara's pension

Appeal to rescind rights of former MK suspected of spying for Hizbullah during 2006 War rejected.

azmi bishara 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
azmi bishara 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The High Court of Justice on Monday ruled that former Balad chairman Azmi Bishara can continue to receive a pension from the state, despite the fact that he has fled the country under a cloud of suspicion that he spied for Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War. World Likud head Danny Danon, who filed the appeal against the benefits, lambasted the court's decision. "It is a disgrace that the High Court of Justice has joined hands with the interior minister, taking no legal action against Bishara to revoke his citizenship and stop payments to him," Danon said in response to the decision. "The terror that is being directed at Israelis by leaders of the country's Arab community has just been given a tailwind by the High Court of Justice," he added. The attorney representing the state, Yochi Gnesin, asked that the judges reject the plea, emphasizing a recent Knesset bill that would automatically annul the rights of any MK who is suspected of security offenses. She suggested that the appellants turn to Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit. According to the bill, also known as the "Bishara Law," which was passed in June, "anyone who has illegally visited an enemy state in the seven years preceding the [submission of his name on the party list] will be seen as a supporter of armed struggle, unless they prove otherwise." The World Likud Movement will "turn to the interior minister with the demand that he act against Bishara," Danon said in a statement, threatening to appeal once more if Sheetrit fails to rescind the fugitive's rights. The statement said that the movement would launch an "extensive public campaign to act decisively against Azmi Bishara, who is hiding in an enemy state." Bishara was reportedly unfazed by the proceedings and a statement from his office said that "Dr. Bishara refuses to defend his family's right to receive the pension payments in the Israeli court system, and if they want to confiscate them, they can do so." Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report.