Israel passes law preventing entry of foreign boycotters

Critics of the legislation say supporters of Israel who oppose government settlement policy will be hit


The Knesset passed a law on Monday preventing the entry of foreign citizens who support a boycott of Israel or the settlements.

The law covers both those who have publicly called for such boycotts or who represent organisations which do so.

While members of various parties in the coalition presented it as a law against those calling for a boycott of all Israel, it covers also boycotters of the settlements only and could therefore cause problems also for supporters of Israel who are deeply opposed to the government's settlement policy.

The law, which passed in its third and final reading 46-28, was opposed not only by the left-wing Meretz and Joint List parties but by the centre-left Zionist Union, even though some of the party's MKs had initially supported the law on its first reading and many of them abstained or were absent on Monday.

Roy Folkman, an MK of centre-right Kulanu, who was one of the sponsors of the bill, said after the vote it was not an attempt to suppress debate or human rights and that "you can believe in human rights and also defend Israel's good name".

Joint List Leader Ayman Odeh, who opposed the law, said that it would target also "thousands of Jews who support a boycott of the settlements. People who are not against the state but against the occupation".

Another law passed on Monday with the support of the coalition will prevent the return of Israeli citizens suspected of taking part in terror activities abroad.

Interior Minister Arye Deri said that the law would “close a loophole through which Israeli citizens who have left the country to fight with the enemy, particularly Daesh, can return to Israel as if nothing has happened".

Under the new law, the government can hold hearings on revoking the citizenship of these terror suspects and deny them the right to return to Israel to attend these hearings.

Opposition MKs who voted against the law argued it was unnecessary as terror suspects can be arrested upon return and be allowed to attend their hearings while in custody. 

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive