The Knesset on Monday night passed in a second and third reading a law barring the entry of visitors who have called for a boycott on Israel. The law was sponsored by MKs Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) and Roy Folkman (Kulanu). The law was initially proposed by former MK Yinon Magal (Habayit Hayehudi) who resigned from his post in 2016.
The new law bars the entry into Israel in two cases: one, a foreign national who knowingly and publicly calls for boycotting Israel; two, a foreign national representing an organization that calls for such a boycott.
The law was passed with 46 votes for and 28 against.
The new law replaces a law that grants any foreign visitor from a friendly country an automatic entry visa, but allows the Interior Minister to weigh revoking it in a case where the recipient has called for boycotting Israel. In its revised form, the law allows the Interior Minister to waive the prohibition against such a person based on extenuating circumstances.
The explanation notes accompanying the bill say that “in recent years calls to boycott the State of Israel have been increasing. It appears that this is now a new front in the war against Israel, which the State has so far been avoiding preparing for properly. This bill is meant to prevent people or representatives of companies, associations and organizations who call for boycotting Israel from acting within the borders of the State of Israel to promote their ideas.”
MK Smotrich said in a statement that the new law means Israel “stops turning the other cheek.”
MK Dov Khenin (Joint Arab List) Arab List), who was among the 28 Nay votes, called the new law, “a law for boycotting the whole world.”