(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The Knesset Monday approved a controversial bill to deny visas and residency permits to people who support boycotting Israel.
The new law, approved in a 46-28 vote, gives Israel’s interior minister the authority to decide on any exceptions to the rule. The abstract to the bill, sponsored by Members of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) and Roey Folkman (Kulanu), states that “over the past few years, calls for boycotts against Israel have grown louder. It seems to have become a new battlefront against Israel and the state has yet to be able to duly counter it….This bill seeks to prevent private individuals or those representing companies, associations or organizations that support boycotting Israel from promoting their agenda on Israeli soil.”
Knesset Internal Affairs Committee Chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud), who introduced the bill for the Knesset vote, said, “This is a very basic law. We have nothing against legitimate criticism, but the latter has nothing to do with calls to boycott Israel—those cross a red line.”
The Israeli political opposition lambasted the bill as “vindictive” against those who refuse to align themselves with Israel’s policies.