'Supreme Court continues to act against democracy'

Tourism Minister blasts Supreme Court’s ruling permitting BDS activist Lara Alqasem to enter Israel.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yariv Levin
Yariv Levin
Flash 90

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) on Thursday blasted the Supreme Court’s ruling permitting BDS activist Lara Alqasem to enter Israel and study at the Hebrew University.

"The Supreme Court judges, in their shameful decision to allow the boycott activist to enter Israel, continue to act against democracy and against clear legislation by the Knesset, by creating a path for boycott activists to enter the country and continue to harm the state," he said.

"Instead of the law enforcement authorities preventing her from entering the country and acting to bring her to justice, they allow her to receive academic degrees while exploiting the resources of the state she encourages to boycott. The Hebrew University and its leaders must renounce their support for Alqasem and cancel her registration," added Levin.

The court ruled Thursday evening against the state’s position that Alqasem is prohibited from entering the country under Israel’s anti-BDS law, which bars non-citizen supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement from visiting Israel.

Alqasem, 22, had served as the chapter president of the anti-Israel group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) during her undergraduate studies at the University of Florida. SJP is known for its staunch support of the BDS movement.

Following her graduation from the University of Florida, Alqasem applied for and received a student visa from Israel, enabling her to take part in a master’s degree program at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Upon her arrival in Israel on October 2, however, Alqasem was detained by border control authorities, who barred her entry under Israel’s anti-BDS law.

Alqasem appealed the decision to bar her from entering the country, but the Tel Aviv district court upheld the ban in a ruling on Friday. On Sunday, the Supreme Court agreed to freeze the ban and hear Alqasem’s case before allowing her to enter Israel on Thursday.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri slammed the Supreme Court's ruling earlier on Thursday.

"The decision to leave the student who openly acts against the State of Israel in Israel is shameful," said Deri. "Where is our national honor? I will examine how to prevent such a recurrence. "

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said in response that "the Supreme Court granted a great victory to BDS this evening and emptied the law to prevent the entry of BDS activists. I am deeply saddened by the Supreme Court's decision, which attests to a complete lack of understanding of the methods of action of the BDS organizations, and has undermined the ability of the State of Israel to fight the boycott activists who harm us all."

"According to the judgment and logic of the justices, Omar Barghouti, the founder of the world BDS movement who studied at Tel Aviv University and is currently spreading hatred worldwide against Israel, was supposed to become an enthusiastic supporter of Israel due to his studies in an Israeli academic institution," continued Erdan.

"The principle must be preserved: anyone who acts to harm Israel and its citizens should not enter its gates."