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Bill aims to strip citizenship, curb speech — a bellwether of Israel's Right

A senior Likud MK is proposing to suspend much of Israeli democracy. His bill has zero chance of passing muster, but it does show where the Israeli Right thinks the future of the conflict lies. 

MK Yariv Levin (Likud), chairman of the House Parliamentary Committee, is pushing a new directive — temporary legislation — to “combat terrorism” that amounts to perhaps the most sweepingly anti-democratic legislative project in recent years, whether implemented or proposed. The directive is extraordinarily harsh even by Israeli measure, and is almost certainly unconstitutional on several levels. It is meant to apply both to the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel proper.

According to Ynet, the provisions of the bill include:

• “Terrorists,” which includes anyone throwing a Molotov cocktail, will be stripped of their citizenship or residency and expelled to the Gaza Strip.

• Stone throwers, inciters, and anyone displaying the Palestinian flag or flags of terrorist organizations will be arrested and held until trial — without bail.

• Anyone convicted of terrorism will be denied national insurance benefits and will lose their driver’s license for 10 years.

• The homes of accused terrorists’ families will be demolished within 24 hours of the terrorist act.

• Bodies of terrorists will not be delivered to their families, and will be buried secretly, without funeral rites.

• Citizenship/residency will be stripped from family members who express support for the terrorists.

• Businesses that print [sic] publications supportive of terrorism will be shut down.

• Employers summarily firing workers with a record of “security” offenses will not be liable for compensation claims.

The bill is so off the wall that it’s nearly comical. Some details have very little grounding in Israeli law (what constitutes an “inciter,” for instance?) or in 21st century realities (confiscating printing presses? go right ahead.) It also contradicts several basic laws and overrides existing criminal law, which already sets punishments for many of the listed offenses.

That is probably why Levin is  proposing it not as a law in its own right, but as a “temporary directive.” Regardless, it’s highly doubtful it will make it even to a preliminary vote, much less so further down the legislative process — through committees, three more votes, and finally into the books and possible review by the High Court of Justice. In other words, this is more likely to be a spin rather than a legislative proposal: Levin is putting it out there to show how “tough on terrorism” he is,  while relying on his fellow MKs to check his pace. He can then blame these fellow MKs for hampering his efforts and make them look less tough on terror in comparison.

Nevertheless, it is interesting and alarming. A few years ago, such legislative deformities would be produced by the margins of the margins of the Israeli Right — provocateurs like Michael Ben Ari, for instance, who used them mostly to stir controversy and secure some airtime. Yariv Levin, conversely, is a stalwart of the Likud, the former coalition chairman and probably a future minister. The audience he is aiming to impress isn’t radical settlers, but center-right and right-wing voters floating between the Likud and Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party. If this is where the center-right is shifting, it doesn’t bode well for anyone.

The specific concern that the legislation pretends to address — while actually fanning it — is more alarming and interesting still, and is revealed in the bill’s frequent references to the revocation of residency and citizenship. These measures are overwhelmingly directed at citizens of Israel and residents of East Jerusalem as opposed to residents of the occupied Palestinian territories; they aim, therefore, to respond to the disquieting realization of many on the Israeli Right that getting rid of the two-state solution did not make the Israeli-Palestinian conflict go away, but rather brought it closer to home. The bill, like many other pieces of far-fetched legislation, is a weather balloon: it is one more early indicator that with the creeping demise of the Palestinian statehood project, the focal point of the struggle is beginning to spread, if not shift, inside the Green Line — with everything that implies for the “Jewish and democratic” state structure.

Read also:
Is the ‘Jewish nation-state’ bill good for anyone at all?
Israel’s UN ambassador puts another nail in the two-state coffin
Israeli gov’t votes to support annexing West Bank settlements

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    COMMENTS

    1. The state of Israel is on the road to perdition.

      Wake up people, and don’t let this happen.

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        Israel is on the way to finding more ways to fight Palestinian terrorism and the terrorists and their supporters. Some would rather see Jewish blood flow like water in the streets than Israel take steps to discourage terrorism in the face of Palestinian incitement to violence.

        This bill is unlikely to pass in its current form but Israel will need to take action to stem the Palestinian violence.

        Reply to Comment
        • If as many people hated Jews as you claim, there wouldn’t be a single Jew left on the planet. Let’s drop the dramatic fabrication and just be straight. We all bleed red. Maybe when the zionist enterprise stops insisting Jewish blood somehow has more value, deaths of Jews somehow more heartbreaking and wrong, the lives of Jews more important than the lives of the “other”, maybe the streets will never run red with anyone’s blood again. You are such a drama queen.

          Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            Marnie, you are such a godless woman.

            Reply to Comment
          • Why?

            Reply to Comment
          • Josh

            “you are such a godless woman.”
            Best clown comment ever read on this site. Congrats

            Reply to Comment
      • phil

        wonder if the Israeli bus driver who ran over two Palestinians will have his house demolished before his trial?

        Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      The Sheldon Adelson state is doubling down on the crazy. As far as I’m concerned, whatever makes Israel become the full-fledged pariah state it so badly wants to be – complete with fixings of overt fascism – is fine by me.

      The BDS movement never had a better partner to promote its agenda than Netanyahu and Likud.

      Reply to Comment
      • Well said Danny.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Yeah, right

      Look, there really is no disguising where this is heading.

      The right-wingers driving this Clown Car of a government are convinced that the “solution” to this conflict is to eject all the Goys from Greater Israel.

      They don’t know the exact moment when they’ll be able to get away with that, but they know in their hearts that the moment will arrive.

      That’s what all these laws and all this incitement is about: getting themselves ready for when that moment arrives.

      Because they’ll know it when they see it.

      And when they see it they want to be ready to act. Immediately. Absolutely. Resolutely.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        I think you’re undoubtedly right. I don’t see any other way to explain the Right’s complacency and seeming irrationality. They are irrational like a fox. It is a perfectly rational plan from a fascist standpoint if you factor in forced mass deportation–masquerading as self defense of course–as the planned strategic endgame. But only if. How else to make sense of it? Honestly I see no other way to plausibly explain it. 90% of them are NOT Reuven Rivlin or Moshe Arens. 90% are much closer to Moshe Feiglin on this.

        Reply to Comment
        • Avdim

          There’s a simple explanation for the proposed bill. Some people actually think that saving lives is more important that some abstract thoughts about human rights written by people living in far away lands and having no clue about the reality here. They actually try to deter people from killing Jews by giving their actions consequences for their families.

          This is of course wrong in the eyes of some who think that the only proper response to Terrorism is bowing down. Because if they act violently it means we must have done something wrong. It’s not due to incitement or having anything to do with us being Jews.

          But I find the comments of both of you very funny because of the predictions you make and are so sure of. I wonder how will you feel in a year when none of the nonsense you write will take place. Probably make other silly predictions of Israel doing other evil things, be sure about them and wrong as usual.

          I live here and I can honestly say that predicting what’s going to happen is very difficult, mainly because I don’t think our neighbors are behaving rationally (AKA as would I).

          How can people that don’t even live here make wild predictions and be so certain of them?!

          Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            You and your friends are the ones who believe Palestinian “terrorists” to be so monstrous and inhuman that they happily send off their children to blow themselves up. So what makes you think they’ll stop at the thought of their kids going homeless? If anything, these laws will be a boon for the “terrorists.” More outrage among the Palestinian and Israeli Arab communities at these police state measures means more approval of violent resistance.

            Congratulations.

            Reply to Comment
          • Avdim

            I’m sorry, but your comment makes no sense.

            “You and your friends are the ones who believe Palestinian “terrorists” to be so monstrous and inhuman that they happily send off their children to blow themselves up.”

            WHAT? A terrorist that sends his children to blow up? Does that make sense to you?

            I don’t think anyone’s inhuman. But the Palestinian society does honor those whose only achievement in life was killing Jews. And while Palestinian mothers are surely not happy that their child died, the fact that he killed Jews is something that brings honor to the family, not shame. Note that the honor does not stem from something useful or good coming from killing some Jews, but from merely killing the Jews.

            “So what makes you think they’ll stop at the thought of their kids going homeless? If anything, these laws will be a boon for the “terrorists.”

            Again, this makes no sense. The correct thought would be to ask about the siblings and parents of the Terrorists.

            I consider Terrorists to be PEOPLE which are incited into performing horrible acts. As such, thoughts of their families may affect their decisions. You on the other hand consider them to be mindless beasts that have no such considerations. As if they get angered by something and get into uncontrollable rage. I find this view disgusting.

            “More outrage among the Palestinian and Israeli Arab communities at these police state measures means more approval of violent resistance.”

            Some people just look for reasons for outrage. When such are not found, they are invented. Note that all the proposed measures are AFTER the deed, nothing to do with a police state. So – don’t kill Jews and no measures are taken, not that difficult. According to you we shouldn’t take any measures against Terrorism (AKA “violent resistance”) because it will cause more Terrorism. Lot’s of sense here.

            “Congratulations.”

            Indeed.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Oh the Feiglinite time frame for execution of the endgame is much longer than one year. It is you who show naïveté and lack of comprehension.

            Reply to Comment
          • Avdim

            You make a silly prophecy based on nothing besides belief and in a year when it’s not going to happen – you’ll just say, wait some more!

            No need to take responsibility for your words, or ever acknowledge their foolishness or hatefulness – nothing can be shown wrong because of the “Feiglinite time frame”.

            What a true believer you are.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Look, you are simply making stuff up. Neither YR nor I said anything about one year or made any time based prophecies. You are making this up and it is obvious that you are. You have no argument.

            Reply to Comment
          • Avdim

            “Look, you are simply making stuff up. Neither YR nor I said anything about one year or made any time based prophecies. You are making this up and it is obvious that you are. ”

            I’m making nothing up, never said you did, that’s the whole point. You can’t even do that, you make general prophecies based on nothing but wild fantasies, with no time frame and when nothing happens you’ll just claim – wait some more. You just approved what I said.

            The one year was from my comment, not yours –
            “I wonder how will you feel in a year when none of the nonsense you write will take place”

            “You have no argument.”

            Besides supporting my claim, you said nothing about my argument. Then you claim I have none.

            This is like having an argument with an extreme religious person…

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            No. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The implicit extraordinary claim in this case is: “The Feiglinites accept living democratically in one state of ‘Greater Israel-Palestine’ with a projected demographic majority of Palestinian Arabs.”

            It is incumbent on you to prove that extraordinary claim. Or, to otherwise show that the Feiglinites’ behavior–if their real goal is NOT the eventual forcible expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs at the opportune moment–makes any sense from their own standpoint. Keeping in mind that the Feiglinites’ behavior DOES make sense if their real goal IS the eventual forcible expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs at the opportune moment.

            Please just look at the utterances of the declared Feiglinite, Tomer, below on this same thread:

            TOMER: “The reality is that the p people do not exist and never will. This is the real root of the problem. Otherwise, mass population transfer is on the cards.”

            Now, Avdim, WHAT was your argument?

            Reply to Comment
    4. Ben A.

      If Netanyahu’s “The Nation State of the Jewish People” thing is not a racist confection then tell me why Shmuly Yanklowitz

      http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/opinion/judaism-must-embrace-the-convert.html?referrer=&_r=0

      was made to feel so awful, why converts are regarded as less authentic, why his being a “real” Jew was so suspect, why Jewish converts feel shame, why Judaism is so remarkably exclusionary, so stingy in accepting converts? It reeks of racism, biological supremacism. It reeks. But you all on the right wing want to be regarded as democrats and modern and such. You’re not. Not truly. You’re a bunch of medieval racists preaching about how you’re victims of racism. What hypocrisy.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        I think you are saying something important here, Ben. Let’s see if anyone from the Right here dares take on your challenge about exclusion, racism, supremacism. Anyone dare? Would appreciate hearing what any of you have to say. Come on now, none of you strike me as shy.

        Reply to Comment
      • thanks, and for the link.

        Reply to Comment
    5. The citizens of the US have been, by no choice of their own, providing material support to the state of Israel for decades; our parents, ourselves and our children and seeing where our money is being spent and it’s disheartening at the least and infuriating at best. The only americans who are happy are the evangelists, who’re planning on riding your coattails to the rapture. If your parents, yourself and your children were tied to another nation monetarily, I imagine you’d wonder how your money was being spent. I imagine most americans are questioning this “special relationship” a lot more and the blowback you’re seeing is a result of americans coming out of their stupor, thanks to the last tango in Gaza, and are disgusted they’ve played a huge part in the occupation. And that’s only speaking to the monetary side of things.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Why doesn’t the state of israel stop taking american money and quit being a welfare state?

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        Welfare state? In 2006, Israel’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $133.96 billion. In 2013, the Israeli GDP was $291.3 billion.

        http://www.tradingeconomics.com/israel/gdp

        Compare that to the performance of the UK or US GDP growth rate for the same period. You will see that the start up nation outperformed them spectacularly.

        Then look at a real welfare entity, the Palestinians. Total GDP is only 6.8 billion dollars. Their government is financed by welfare payments from America, Europe, the UN and a bit from gulf states. The unemployment rate is 26.3%. The PA’s budget is only 4.2 billion dollars and they have a budgeted deficit of 1.2 billion and aid of 1.6 billion dollars. Almost half of the PA budget goes to pay salaries of PA employees, the largest group of whom are security personnel. 6% of their budget is used to pay terrorists and their families. One should also mention that on top of massive foreign aid, UNWRA feeds many Palestinians and runs many of their schools.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Love the way you completely sidestepped and tried to divert attention to the Palestinians. Right on time Pedro. Go cash your check.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Tomer

      The reality is that the p people do not exist and never will. This is the real root of the problem.

      Otherwise, mass population transfer is on the cards.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Well, what do you say, Avdim? (See above.)

        Reply to Comment
      • Yeah, right

        Translation: The Palestinians don’t exist, but if I’m wrong then we’ll make sure that they don’t exist, pronto.

        Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        Are you an imbecile or what? How can a non-existent people be the source of all your problems? How can a non-existent people require mass transfer. The only answer surely is that the Palestinian people do exist and are an obstacle to a racially pure Greater Israel. Now where have I heard that sentiment before?

        Reply to Comment
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