Knesset passes law letting Israel declare foreign nationals as terror operatives

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

The Knesset passes a law to enable the defense minister to declare non-Israeli individuals as terrorist operatives, as part of its wartime push.

The new law, which has passed the final vote with the support of 17 MKs and over the opposition of one lawmaker, amends Israel’s existing Counterterrorism Law.

Previously, non-Israeli individuals could only be deemed terrorists if a qualified international entity first made the designation.

The law also expands the definition of “terror operative” to include financiers who are not formal members of a terror organization.

Explanatory notes accompanying the law on its final votes state that the previous requirement to rely upon qualified foreign designations posed “a real limitation in dealing with the fight against terrorism in general and with the financing of terrorism in particular.”

In addition to that law, the Knesset also advances a measure to grant honorary citizenship to foreigners who died while fighting with Israel’s security services.

An immediate family member may petition the Interior Ministry to cancel the citizenship if they so wish, and it will be nullified “as if it had not been granted at all,” according to a readout from the Knesset spokesperson.

This honorary citizenship would not grant rights to the victim’s family members.

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