Israeli-Arab MK Ahmed Tibi made an illegal visit to Lebanon and Yemen. MK Aryeh Eldad says he is not a traitor, but rather the enemy himself.
MK Tibi and others who travel to enemy states should be put on trial and sentenced to prison,” MK Eldad (National Union) said Thursday.
Tibi’s visit to Yemen included visits with local rulers and a role in talks between rival terrorist groups Fatah and Hamas. He then stopped in Lebanon on the way back to Israel – claiming it was just a routine stopover at Beirut’s airport. Tibi remained defiant despite harsh criticism, and said Thursday that he would visit enemy states whenever he wished because they are not his enemies.
Eldad said he believed Tibi when the Arab MK said that he did not see Yemen or Lebanon as enemy states. “They really don’t see these states as enemy states,” Eldad said. “We need to understand that they aren’t traitors, they are the enemy!”
Eldad accused Attorney General Menachem Mazuz of failing to prevent Tibi’s behavior by failing to enforce existing laws. There are laws against visiting enemy states and laws that prohibit those who do not recognize Israel as a Jewish state from running for Knesset, Eldad said, “but they aren’t enforced for fear for democracy - and then we get anarchy.”
Bill to Ban Tibi and Others Softened
A new bill approved for its first reading Tuesday would ban anyone who visits enemy states from holding a Knesset seat for seven years after the most recent visit.
The bill was submitted by MK Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party) and MK Esterina Tarteman (Yisrael Beiteinu). The bill had an exception inserted, however, for anyone who can prove their visit was not to express support for attacks by the state or terror groups based there. The provision was added after Deputy Attorney General Yehoshua Shoffman argued at the Knesset House Committee that without it the law would be unconstitutional (though Israel does not have a constitution –ed.).
Candidates rejected on those grounds by the Knesset Elections Committee could appeal to the Supreme Court.
Tibi's former fellow MK Azmi Bishara fled the country after an investigation was launched into aid he provided to the Hizbullah terrorist group during the Second Lebanon War. Prior to that, Bishara had engaged in several similar visits to enemy countries.
Now, even after Bishara is being charged with treason, he will continue to receive a pension from the government due to his Knesset service.