MK Yinon Magal
MK Yinon Magal Miriam Alster / Flash 90

The Knesset approved in a preliminary reading Wednesday a bill prohibiting foreign nationals who call for a boycott of Israel from entering into the country.

Under the proposed bill, special cases may be given access to enter the Israel, but will need the approval of the Interior Ministry to do so.

For instance, Jews, entitled to make aliyah under the Law of Return, who are also supporters of the boycott movement against Israel, will have to receive special dispensation.

According to Magal, the bill aims to fix the "absurd situation" whereby people who call for a boycott of Israel, or representatives of companies, NGOs and other organizations that call for such a boycott, enter the country and work against it from the inside.

MK Magal addressed the plenum minutes after the EU announced it would mark products made beyond the 1967 "Green Line."

"We will not bend and be silent before people who think that they will mark us," he stated. "That is why this bill says that whoever calls for a boycott will not enter here, and will remain outside. We will make clear to those who hate us that it is over."

Magal claimed that while Zionist Union MKs had signed the bill, he was now receiving messages in which they were withdrawing their signatures.

Minister of Interior Silvan Shalom replied to the bill in the government's name and said that the government supports the bill, on condition that further steps to pass it be conducted in coordination with the government. The bill is "far reaching" and certain restrictions and exceptions must be worked into it, he said.

MK Dov Khenin (Joint List) said that the bill was a "stupid" one that will only encourage the boycott. "According to your bill," he told Magal, "all of Europe must remain outside Israel. In order to protect the settlements, you are willing to pay a price of deepening delegitimization and harm to the tourism industry."