The Knesset voted Wednesday, in a preliminary reading, in favor of a bill that would prevent the transfer of funds to the Palestinian Authority if it continues to encourage and enforce a boycott of goods manufactured in Jewish communities.
The bill makes it illegal to initiate or encourage the boycott of individuals, factories, firms and organizations anywhere within Israel. It pertains to boycotts by Israeli citizens, by citizens of other countries, or by foreign governments. It relates to different kinds of boycotts, including economic and academic ones.
The bill will make it possible for a body hurt by a boycott to receive initial compensation of up to NIS 30,000 without having to prove injury, and additional compensation subject to proof of injury.
Coalition Chairman Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), one of the bill's initiators, explained that “We must not accept the boycotts of the State of Israel, whether they are academic or economic ones. The state must defend itself from processes of delegitimization that have increased recently, and to give proper compensation to those hurt by it.”
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said: “The Knesset declared a war of legislation today against the Palestinian Authority and the Jewish collaborators who partner with [PA heads] Abu Mazen and Salam Fayyad in boycotting Judea and Samaria products. Even though the government prefers to surrender to the boycott so as not to interfere with the negotiations with Abu Mazen, and despite the Justice Minister's attempts to delete the law's most important components, it passed today in the preliminary reading as it was originally phrased.”
The bill will have to pass through a Knesset committee and then be presented for first, second and third readings before it becomes law.