On the second day of its summer session, the Knesset passed a bill to prohibit anyone convicted of terror-related crimes from running for a seat in Israel’s parliament, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
Likud MK Anat Berko, who sponsored the bill, said she was aware that some thought it was unnecessary to legislate what should be obvious, but argued there was a need for it.
No one would have imagined that an MK would try to smuggle cell phones to imprisoned terrorists — as former MK Basel Ghattas did — and no one thought an MK would spy for Hezbollah — as former MK Azmi Bishara did, Berko pointed out.
“Democracy does not have to be suicidal, and there are those who should not be allowed to come here to the Knesset,” she said.
Joint List MKs voted against it. MK Dov Henin contended that it will harm the basic right of citizens to run for office, and that it will only help Berko and the right wing.
MK Haneen Zoabi, always a candidate for expulsion from the Knesset, railed against the measure:
“Parliament members in the Zionist state have adopted delusional definitions of terror. In their eyes, identifying with the legitimate struggle to liberate land from occupation is ‘terror’ and occupation, siege, and war crimes are ‘democracy.’ This bill confuses terrorists with freedom fighters.”
The legislation, which bans those convicted of terror-related crimes from running for Knesset until at least 14 years after they completed their prison term, passed by a vote of 86-10.
It applies to persons who have been found guilty of serious security offensives, for which they were sentenced to at least seven years in prison.