Smotrich opposes Netanyahu's law to oust Arab MKs

As Joint Arab List MKs boycott discussion on law proposal, Jewish Home's Smotrich becomes unlikely ally, note law open to abuse.

Raphael Poch ,

Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich
Miriam Alster/Flash90

Members of the Arab Joint List party have decided to boycott the discussion held in the Knesset Committee on Monday, regarding the punitive measures to be taken against Balad faction MKs for their visit to the family home of a convicted terrorist.

The discussion was prompted by the hundreds of complaints that the Knesset received following the visit of the Arab MKs Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi and Basel Ghattas who met with family members of ten terrorists who murdered Israelis.

The three MKs are the representatives of the Balad faction in the Joint List party. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, as well as Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, both filed personal complaints with the Knesset Ethics Committee, in a move that was uncharacteristic for both of them.

Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan (Likud) said that there will be no change in policy regarding the returning of the bodies of terrorists. "A family that lives up to the requirements of the police will receive the body of the terrorist back," said the minister on his Twitter feed. "There is no connection to the Arab MKs in this regard."

During an interview with Razi Barkai on Army Radio, MK Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) said the he is against the bill that is being proposed at the initiative of the Prime Minister, which will allow for the dismissal of the Arab MKs from the Knesset should 90 MKs vote in favor of such a dismissal.

"We need to get to the root of the problem among the Arab-Israeli population and with our relationship to them," said Smotrich.

He attacked the law and said "It is a bad law as it stands. Tomorrow someone can simply come and say that MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) is too extreme and that she doesn't belong in the Knesset. Then someone will come and say that I am too extreme, and that I have no place in the Knesset."