Knesset speaker bans anti-migrant activist who called for MK’s execution

When Meretz’s Gaby Lasky said Afghan refugees should be let into Israel, Sheffi Paz said she and her ilk should be put before a firing squad

South Tel Aviv resident and activist Sheffi Paz speaks during a visit of Ayelet Shaked in south Tel Aviv on April 2, 2019. (Roy Alima/Flash90)
South Tel Aviv resident and activist Sheffi Paz speaks during a visit of Ayelet Shaked in south Tel Aviv on April 2, 2019. (Roy Alima/Flash90)

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy on Wednesday barred a far-right activist from entering the Knesset, after she called for the execution of a Knesset member who backed offering asylum to Afghan refugees.

Meretz MK Gaby Lasky tweeted on Tuesday: “The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan puts hundreds of thousands in danger, their rights and their lives at stake. I have appealed to the foreign minister and alternate prime minister, Yair Lapid, to open up Israel’s gates to accept refugees. This is the humane, humanitarian thing to do.”

Paz, a well-known anti-migrant activist, responded: “The most humane and humanitarian thing to do is to put you and your friends up before a firing squad.”

Meretz said it had reported Paz to Knesset security for incitement to murder, and that it planned to file a police complaint against her as well.

In a tweet, Meretz said Paz “is calling to put MK Gaby Lasky and 200,000 Meretz voters before a firing squad. Just as she has incited and acted violently against refugees and migrant workers [including] children for years.”

Knesset Speaker Levy said the comments by Paz, who has often been invited to the Knesset by right-wing lawmakers to speak on migrant issues, were “grave statements that cross the lines of acceptable discourse and could cause real harm to an elected official. The Knesset will not tolerate such harsh, crude expressions.”

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy seen during a plenary session in Jerusalem, July 26, 2021.(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

After her initial incendiary tweet, Paz later said she “may have erred in the wording in the heat of the moment” but that “after I get daily wishes to rot in jail, get raped, get murdered and die in agony, I too can explode.”

She said Lasky was “proposing to drop Islamist Afghans on a population that is barely surviving the Eritrean-Sudanese invasion.”

Sheffi Paz has for years campaigned against the presence of African migrants in her south Tel Aviv neighborhood. She has been accused in the past of incitement against ministers and High Court justices.

Last year she was placed under house arrest after breaking into a preschool for children of asylum seekers in south Tel Aviv during the school day and sparking a commotion.

Meretz MK Gaby Lasky attends a meeting at the Knesset on June 21, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In 2019 she filmed herself vandalizing the European Union’s diplomatic mission in Israel, spraying “German money kills Jews” and “EU get out” over the bloc’s support of migrants. A trial in the matter is ongoing.

African asylum-seekers, mainly from war-torn Sudan and dictatorial Eritrea, began arriving in Israel in 2005 through its porous border with Egypt. Tens of thousands crossed the desert border, often after enduring dangerous journeys, before Israel completed a barrier in 2012 that stopped the influx.

Since then, Israel has wrestled with how to cope with those already in the country. Many took up menial jobs in hotels and restaurants, and thousands settled in southern Tel Aviv, where Israeli residents began complaining of rising crime.

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