New Laws Would Revoke Terrorists' Citizenship

Israeli Arabs and their families could be deprived of citizenship if involved in terrorism, under legislation the Knesset approved in a preliminary reading yesterday.

The six bills ban terrorists' families from setting up mourning tents and similar displays, and two also revoke former MK Azmi Bishara's pension benefits.

The vote came hours after a Palestinian man went on a deadly rampage in downtown Jerusalem, ramming a bulldozer into a crowded bus and a string of vehicles, killing at least four people and wounding dozens.

"Look what bills were approved today," said Balad faction whip Jamal Zahalka. "A racist fever is washing over the Knesset. It is hurtling down the slope toward open apartheid and racism is becoming the law."

Hadash chairman Mohammad Barakeh said "the Knesset operates like a kangaroo court."

The six bills were proposed by MKs Yuli Edelstein (Likud) and Nissan Slomiansky (National Union-National Religious Party), and were approved by an overwhelming majority in the Knesset.

Slomiansky proposed granting the interior minister the authority to revoke the permanent residency of East Jerusalem residents involved in terror and those of their families.

"There is a limit to how far democracy does. It is shocking that a person is given a blue [Israeli] ID card and he uses it to carry out terror attacks," he said.

Edelstein's proposal suggests that the citizenship or permanent residency of any person participating in terrorist acts against Israel should be revoked. Edelstein said that this amendment must be made "once and for all."

The legislative ministerial committee had originally planned not to approve this bill, however in the wake of yesterday's terror attack, the cabinet chose to refrain from taking a stance.

The police said that yesterday's terror attack perpetrator was a resident of East Jerusalem and had a blue ID card. He also had a criminal record.

The bills denying Bishara's pension were presented by MKs Zvi Hendel, Yitzhak Levy and Effi Eitam (National Union).