Shin Bet supports citizenship revocation proposal

Security agency says proposal is method of "deterrence"; MKs David Rotem and Taleb a-Sanaa exchange heated words in Knesset.

knesset plenum (photo credit: Channel 99)
knesset plenum
(photo credit: Channel 99)
A Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) legal adviser expressed support for a proposal revoking the citizenship of those convicted of terrorism or espionage, during a debate on the Citizenship Law held by the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
The legal adviser explained that the Shin Bet sees the revocation of citizenship as a method of deterrence for those who want to carry out attacks against the state.
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Under the bill, which has already passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset, the court or the administrative authority will have the power to revoke the Israeli citizenship, or permanent residency status, of any individual convicted of spying for terrorist organizations.
During the debate, harsh words were exchanged between the bill's initiator, MK David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu) and MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List).
"We must avoid a situation in which there are Knesset members who are traitors and who continue to be a part of the state," said Rotem speaking in reference to Azmi Bishara of the Balad Party, who fled the country after being interrogated serveral times on suspicions that he provided information to Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War.
In response, Sanaa told Rotem that, "You have spies at home. Your party's chairman is the biggest criminal in the State of Israel."
He added that Israel Beiteinu head Avigdor Liberman was involved in "some very serious crimes and was questioned by the police," and that in his opinion Lieberman is "the chairman of the mafia in Israel."
Rotem shot back that Sanaa represents a "traitor," with Sanaa replying that Rotem represents an "offender."
Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz, who took part in the debate, said the issue needs to be discussed in a serious way and that, "the crux of the matter is that citizenship is a fundamental right and cannot be revoked casually."
"This bill is not only unnecessary, it is a political move against certain groups of the population," said Horowitz.