The Israeli government has failed to push through legislation that would require any member of Knesset wishing to visit an “enemy state” to obtain prior approval from the interior minister, reported Haaretz newspaper.
Members of the ruling coalition were among those who voted against the bill on Wednesday.
The main motive for the bill, said Haaretz, was to prevent Arab-Israeli MK Azmi Bishara from making further visits to Syria.
Under the proposed law, Bishara would face prosecution if he made another visit to an “enemy” country without the interior minister's approval.
The Knesset House committee decided Wednesday by a majority of six to four to reject the draft of the bill, meaning that it will not be brought before the Knesset. Among those who voted down the bill were members of the ruling coalition, including Knesset House Committee Chair MK Yossi Katz and MK Sofa Landver (Labor). Their failure to follow the coalition whip prompted the wrath of Labor faction chair MK Efi Oshaya, who criticized them for voting against the government, said the paper.
Cabinet secretary Gideon Sa'ar had asked Katz to debate the bill and give it a special form of approval, so that it would be brought before the Knesset immediately and forgo the two-day waiting period customary for all government bills.
Arab-Israeli MK Azmi Bishara earned the wrath of fellow lawmakers for visiting Syria this spring, where he made remarks widely construed as hostile to Israel – Albawaba.com
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