Israel passes law enabling Knesset to expel members over incitement



( In a 62-47 vote, the Israeli Knesset on Tuesday passed an impeachment law that enables Members of Knesset (MKs) to expel fellow lawmakers who are found to have incited against the State of Israel. 

The Israeli Knesset chamber. Credit: Itzik Edri via Wikimedia Commons.

The new law states that Knesset members can pursue the impeachment of other lawmakers if their actions and ideology "negate the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, incite racism, or express support for an armed struggle against the State of Israel by an enemy state or terrorist organization."

Until now, the Knesset has only been able to take disciplinary action against such Knesset members, and was able to dismiss elected officials only if Israel's attorney general strips them of their parliamentary immunity. The new law amends this law to give lawmakers the ability to launch impeachment proceedings against fellow lawmakers if the proceedings are supported by at least 70 Knesset members, including at least 10 opposition Knesset members. An affirmative vote from 90 of the Knesset's 120 members is then needed for the impeachment to pass.

The law was spurred by Arab Member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi, whom many lawmakers want to expel because of her frequent comments against the Israel Defense Forces and other government institutions. But the new law reportedly will not apply to acts committed before it came into effect, so lawmakers will not be able to use the law to expel Zoabi.

Posted on July 20, 2016 .