Bill allowing government to deport family members of terrorists passes preliminary reading 17-6

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

File: Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen at the Knesset on November 22, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
File: Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen at the Knesset on November 22, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

A bill allowing the government to deport relatives of convicted terrorists passes a preliminary reading 17-6 in the Knesset plenum.

The bill, sponsored by MK Almog Cohen of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, allows the interior minister to order the deportation of family members who either had advance knowledge of a planned attack or subsequently expressed their support for their relative’s actions.

“The only concern of suicide terrorists is what would happen to their families after the attack,” the bill’s explanatory notes read, asserting that “deporting the families of the terrorists will save the lives of Israeli citizens.”

During the vote, Ra’am (United Arab List) MK Waleed Taha, as well as Hadash-Ta’al lawmakers Ahmad Tibi, Youssef Atauna and Ofer Cassif, left the plenum in protest.

Cohen, who is currently under investigation in a decade-old police brutality case, has courted controversy throughout his short political career.

He has been reprimanded by the Knesset’s Ethics Committee for making racist remarks and was recorded screaming at family members of hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza during a Knesset committee hearing on proposed legislation to impose the death penalty on terrorists.

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