Ilhan Omar (r), Rashida Tlaib (l)
Ilhan Omar (r), Rashida Tlaib (l)REUTERS

Israel will not permit two controversial Democratic lawmakers to enter the country, Channel 12 reported Thursday afternoon.

According to the report, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) decided Thursday to bar Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel.

While the Interior Ministry has not confirmed the report, Channel 12 said the decision would soon be publicized, after the entry ban itself is formally drawn up.

The two will be prevented from entering Israel based on law passed by the Knesset in 2017 which permits the Interior Ministry to bar supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) from visiting the Jewish state.

Earlier on Thursday, Channel 12 reported that Israel was reconsidering its initial decision not to invoke the anti-BDS law and permit Tlaib and Omar to enter the country.

"There is a possibility that Israel will not allow the visit in its current proposed format," a government official said on condition of anonymity, AFP reported.

"Professional teams and legal counsel in various government ministries are continuing to examine the decision. According to Israeli law, the authority lies with the minister of the interior."

The decision to bar Tlaib and Omar is a reversal of the Israeli government’s position in late July.

Two weeks ago, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer announced that Israel would allow the two to enter, in light of the strong messages he received on the subject from senior House officials.

Tlaib and Omar had planned to visit Israel’s security fence in Judea and Samaria, as well ascend the Temple Mount accompanied by senior Palestinian Authority officials, visit Bethlehem, Hevron, and Ramallah.

The trip was planned by Miftah, a pro-Palestinian Authority NGO cofounded by PA negotiator Hanan Ashrawi. Omar and Tlaib had been scheduled to land in Israel Sunday.

In response to the Channel 12 report Thursday afternoon, Nati Rom, founder of the anti-BDS 'Lev Haolam' organization, said barring the two lawmakers would constitute a "victory for common sense."

"The decision not to allow the two anti-Semitic congresswomen is a victory for common sense over irrelevant considerations. The State of Israel has the right to defend itself from its enemies, and to decide who to allow into the country. The message that is made by the decision of Prime Minister Netanyahu and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri is that whoever works against Israel has no reason to come here, and Israel will use every means in its power to combat those being the effort to delegitimize [Israel]."

"Even if there are those who choose to highlight the opposing voices [against Israel], the Jewish people need to know that there are millions of people who support Israel in this undertaking."