High Court Upholds Knesset Expulsion Law

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel’s High Court on Sunday swept aside objections to a law enabling the Knesset to oust one of its members if supported by 90 lawmakers out of the parliament’s 120.

The special nine justice panel ruled unanimously to reject the petition against the law. It had been submitted by MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List), Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

Court President Esther Hayut wrote in the verdict that while the law “seriously infringes basic rights,” it contains a system of checks and balances and “it cannot be said that it contradicts the core of state’s democratic identity.”

Hayut further explained that “the purpose underlying the law is to prevent the use of democratic tools to advance anti-democratic goals that undermine the existence of the state, and this idea has long been anchored in our legal system.”

It allows the Knesset to dismiss a Knesset member “whose actions constitute incitement to racism or support for an armed struggle against the State of Israel.”

Support for such a law grew in 2016 after three Arab MKs from the Joint List visited with families of Arab terrorists, praying and holding a minute of silence for the terrorists, and promising to secure return of their bodies.