Photo Credit: Hillel Maeir / TPS
MK Basel Ghattas (Balad / Joint Arab List)

Israeli Arab Balad Party Knesset Member Basel Ghattas has been banned from voting in the Israeli parliament, according to a report posted by Ynet on Sunday evening.

The move comes in the wake of the Arab Joint List faction member’s arrest on charges of passing coded messages, SIM cards and miniature cell phones to jailed Arab terrorists incarcerated at Israeli prisons.

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Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Sunday ordered the parliament’s chief of security, Yosef Griff, to allow Israel Police to enter the lawmaker’s office in order to carry out a search of the premises.

Griff and Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon served as witnesses to the search in order to ensure that only relevant items were examined and/or confiscated by police. Anything in dispute was placed in a sealed envelope and left to the Court to decide.

Ghattas is the second Knesset Member – also the second Israeli Arab Knesset Member – and a cousin to espionage suspect and former MK Balad party founder Azmi Bishara – whose office underwent similar scrutiny in 2007 while he was under investigation for treason.

Bishara fled Israel before he could be charged for passing information to the Hezbollah terrorist organization, identifying targets within Israel for the terrorist group during the Second Lebanon War, among other actions. He officially resigned from his post at the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.