Israeli Lawmaker Seeks to Block Colleagues From Traveling on Funds From Boycott Supporters

Likud lawmaker plans to push discussion on proposal while much of the Knesset is abroad during a recess.

Likud lawmaker Yoav Kish addressing a Knesset plenary session in 2016.
Emil Salman

Head of the State Control Committee, Knesset member Yoav Kish (Likud), announced Wednesday that he plans to push for a change in the code of ethics that would forbid lawmakers from traveling abroad with funds from sources that call for the boycott of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

In a proposal handed to Knesset members, one article declares that the Ethics Committee wouldn't allow lawmakers to travel abroad if the party funding the trip calls for "the boycott of Israel or the boycott of Israeli products for being Israeli, the boycott of Israeli institutions or an area under their control (the settlements) which can cause economic, cultural or academic damage."

Despite the fact that the Knesset is currently in recess, Kish plans on initiating discussions on the proposal on Monday during an already-scheduled meeting that will deal with broad reforms to Knesset legislative matters.

Any change to the code of ethics would require the approval of the Knesset's Ethics Committee.

Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Union) reached out to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Wednesday with a request to postpone the discussion to a later date.

"I would like to protest the fact that a discussion of moral importance, and even drastic to the Knesset's work, is expected to take place during the recess," she said. "It should make an impression that the Knesset is very divided and is bothered by the legislative reform and it's necessary to hold this discussion properly. I would possibly even dedicate a day of consideration on this issue for the MKs."

Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (Joint List) wrote to Kish on an internal What's App group and asked him not to hold the discussion on Monday since many lawmakers are abroad during the recess. "What else will you forbid? Breathing?" Tibi asked the coalition members in the group.