The Knesset pension of former MK Azmi Bishara (Balad) is in jeopardy: The Knesset plenum will vote Wednesday on a draft law that would strip him of his NIS 7,000 monthly allowance.
If passed, the law would set a precedent in Israeli labor law - and it would save the state about NIS 2.2 million, assuming that Bishara, 52, lives to the age of 78, in line with actuarial tables.
Bishara is suspected of having been in contact with Hezbollah intelligence agents during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. They allegedly paid him tens of thousands of dollars for unspecified reasons. If the law is passed, it could have consequences for MKs who travel to certain Arab states.
Bishara left Israel in March 2007 and resigned from the Knesset the following month. He has not returned to Israel since then, and is believed to be living in an Arab country. The investigation against him is ongoing.
Bishara was awarded a NIS 193,000 acclimation benefit from the Knesset after his resignation. At the time a number of MKs expressed criticism of the decision but the Knesset's Legal Department announced that he could not be deprived of the payment accruing to him after serving in the legislature for 11 years.
The Knesset House Committee did, however, strip Bishara of the annual allowance of NIS 10,400 granted to former MKs for telephone service and newspapers, on the grounds that since he was abroad he could not use the benefit for its original purpose of staying in touch with the public.
The sponsors of the latest bill on Bishara, MKs Yitzhak Levy and Effi Eitam (National Union), hope to pass it before the Knesset summer recess.
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