Constitution, Law and Justice Committee
Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Hezki Ezra

The Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee has given its approval to MK Nissan Slomiansky's (Jewish Home) bill to allow the Knesset Assembly to remove members with a majority of 90 votes.

The proposal was initiated after three Balad MKs visited the families of terrorists.

The committee debate was heated, as a number of members described it as a danger to democracy.

Joint List head Ayman Odeh warned that, should any of his party members be dismissed through this law, he would consider resigning. "We were chosen by our people and not by the Right. We were not chosen by Knesset member and we don't want or intend to please them. So, should the Balad members be ejected, I would consider resigning from the Knesset."

He continued: "Despite the delegitimization campaign against us and raising the election threshold, we decided to remain part of the politics in Israel and they still continue to persecute us.

"Suddenly the talking about Balad and not about the Joint List. After they banned the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, now they're beginning to demonize Balad."

The Joint List's only Jewish MK, Dov Khenin of the communist Hadash party, also spoke out against the bill. "This is a dark moment in the history of the Knesset and of the Legislative Committee. The Prime Minister wants Arab citizens of Israel to not vote in order to ensure a majority to continue his rule. Netanyahu's message to Arab citizens is: if your MKs annoy the Jews, then we'll take them. You have no chance to influence here."

MK Abdullah Abu Ma'aruf (Joint List) was even ejected while declaring, "This law is terror like that of dark regimes."

The objections were not limited to the Joint List. MK Revital Swid (Zionist Union) said, "Let's call a spade a spade - this is a targeted assassination bill. It intercepts the MKs who don't agree with their opinions and permanently ends their politics." She added that "the hatred of Arabs blinds the eyes of MKs until they legislate a law that no attorney general supports. The blindness is making the coalition indifferent and numb in the face of a serious attack on democracy. We cannot let this happen."

Swid then appealed to Slomiansky and asked, "Do you want this power in your hands, Nissan? There will be a day when it is used against you. One day there will be a majority that decides whoever does not denounce the hilltop youth and supports the Kingdom of Israel undermines the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. What will you do then?"

Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit also expressed his reservations, telling the Committee that "the legislation requires much care in light of the inherent issues it raises." He further warned that it would "authorize a political majority to end the tenure of a legally-elected MK" and "defeat the will of the voters."

Despite this, Mandelblit added that he has no legal objection to the law's wording.

The bill will now be sent to the Knesset for its first reading.