Ministers approve banning boycotters from entering Israel

Bayit Yehudi bill would also keep non-citizens or permanent residents who boycott settlements out of the country.

Pro-Palestine demonstrators calling for a boycott during a protest in Paris (photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
Pro-Palestine demonstrators calling for a boycott during a protest in Paris
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
The cabinet’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved on Monday a bill that would deny entry to the country to anyone urging a boycott of Israel.
The initiative by MK Yinon Magal of Bayit Yehudi would bar any non-citizens or residents encouraging steps to embargo Israel from obtaining a visa or residency permit.
“It cannot be that someone who is trying to harm the State of Israel can enter it freely,” Magal said after ministers approved the bill, which must still obtain parliamentary approval before it becomes law.
Magal said anyone boycotting Israel was “employing terrorism” against the country, adding that “it is unthinkable that he would be allowed to move freely through the country.”
MKs from Zionist Union, Yesh Atid, Kulanu, United Torah Judaism, Shas and the Likud have co-sponsored Magal’s initiative.
The measure defines boycott by the wording of a 2011 anti-boycott bill as any “deliberate avoidance of economic, social or academic ties or ties to a person or other body just because of his connection to the State of Israel, its institutions or regions under its control, in order to harm it economically, social or academically.”
The words “regions under its control” would make the bill, should it become law, applicable to people who call to boycott Israelis or their institutions in settlements or the West Bank.
The measure would permit the interior minister to make exceptions under special circumstances.
The bill’s explanatory portion points out that in recent years there has been an increase in calls to boycott Israel.
“It seems that [boycotts are] a new front in the war against Israel, for which the state, thus far, has avoided properly preparing,” it reads. “This bill is meant to prevent people or representatives of companies and organizations that call to boycott Israel to act within our territory to promote their ideas.”
The ministerial committee postponed a decision on a measure proposed by Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman to cut government campaign funding for political parties that either advocate boycotting Israel or have MKs who do so.
Liberman accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of asking for the delay “for not reason.”
“That is very typical of the prime minister, and it is unacceptable,” Liberman said.
The Joint List and Meretz could lose funding should such a bill become law.