image Photo: Flash90

Israel moves to strip terrorists of citizenship

A Knesset parliamentary committee has approved expedition of legislation to undertake such moves.

By Erin Viner

The measure comes as the latest of a series taken by the new government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The key House Committee greenlighted an expedited review of legislation seeking to deny citizenship or residency of convicted terrorists who receive compensation from the Palestinian Authority (PA) for their crimes, as part of its “Pay to Slay” program that awards payments to Palestinian terrorists and their families dependent on the severity of the crimes against Israelis.

“For years we’ve become accustomed to having an entity receive funding from the State of Israel while it maintains an official price list: ‘Murdered a Jew? Here’s a stipend – and if you’re an Israeli citizen, you’ll get more, depending on how many people you’ve killed,'” said Religious Zionism Member of Knesset (MK) Simcha Rothman.

Charging that, “The Palestinian Authority is trying to recruit terrorists from among Israeli citizens because it is easier for them to carry out terror attacks,” he appealed to his fellow lawmakers, “the bare minimum we can do as a moral country is to revoke their citizenship and residency.”

The draft was passed by a 10-2 majority that included members of both the ruling coalition and opposition.

A preliminary reading of the bill, introduced by the Religious Zionism and Likud political factions, may be held as soon as tomorrow. Coalition Chairman and Likud MK Ofir Katz expressed optimism the third and final reading will be held within the next two weeks.

If ultimately passed, the fast-tracked law would revise existing legislation that suspends citizenship of convicted terrorists but permits them to continue living in the country.

Many MKs want to see the hoped-for legislation would facilitate the deportation of convicted terrorist Karim Younis, released from prison last week after serving a term for the 1980 murder of IDF soldier Avraham Bromberg.

Israeli-Arab MKs oppose the proposed legislation, arguing that it would only be applied to Arabs and not Jews.