Knesset sets sights on illicit Arab visits


Rightist Israeli lawmakers moved to bar Arab colleagues from parliament if they visit enemy countries.

The Knesset passed bills in first reading Wednesday submitted by the National Religious Party and National Union factions that would prevent anyone who visits enemy Arab countries from becoming a lawmaker.

The legislation was tabled after an Arab lawmaker, Azmi Bishara, fled Israel earlier this year amid allegations that he provided Hezbollah guerrillas with classified information during the Lebanon war.

Bishara had repeatedly visited Lebanon and Syria, invoking his parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

The legislation requires two more votes to be ratified.

Israeli Arab lawmakers deplored the proposed law and vowed to defy it.

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