Legislation allowing the Ministry of the Interior to bar activists who call to boycott Israel from entering the country moved a step closer to becoming law on Monday, November 7, when the Knesset Interior Committee authorized it for a first reading. The bill was originally proposed by Yinon Magal, but MK Bezalel Smotrich (HaBayit HaYehudi) took it over when the former resigned from the Knesset over sexual harassment allegations. Far-right MK Smotrich said the bill is “simple and trivial,” but reflects a “healthy policy for a country fighting enemies.”
MK Michal Rosin (Meretz) said it is legitimate for the Ministry of the Interior to block entry into Israel for people it considers dangerous, but said the bill is unnecessary. “How will this look to the world?” she lamented. MK Youssef Jabareen (Hadash-Joint List) called the bill “political persecution” and continued: “When I go abroad, I meet all kinds of activists. Are we going to start chasing after all of them now?” he asked. “Are they calling for a boycott?” Smotrich responded. “It’s a very legitimate stance among activists, that all settlements are illegal. Will anyone who boycotts settlements be prevented from entering Israel?” Jabareen asked rhetorically.