ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Minister rolls out bill to strip citizenship from terror supporters in wartime

Moshe Arbel says new law will show those who support ‘Hamas Nazis’ are ‘not one of us,’ after outcry over Israeli Arab actress’s online posts celebrating October 7 massacre

Protesters wave Hamas flags after Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, April 22, 2022. (Jamal Awad/Flash90
Illustrative: Protesters wave Hamas flags after Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, April 22, 2022. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel unveiled a proposal Thursday that would allow Israel to strip individuals of citizenship if they express solidarity with terror groups or incite terror during times of war.

The law would give the interior minister special war-time powers allowing them to remove the citizenship of individuals deemed to be supporting or encouraging terrorism. Rather than go to the courts, the minister would only need the approval of the justice minister, according to a memorandum laying out the law announced by Arbel Thursday.

It was unclear if a conviction on charges of supporting or inciting terror would be required to activate the regulation, which would drastically expand an existing law passed in February allowing Israel to strip some terror convicts of citizenship.

As of a week ago, over 100 people had been detained and 24 indicted on charges of supporting terror, largely in online posts. Most of the incidents involved Arab Israelis glorifying and praising attacks by the Hamas terror group on October 7, in which some 1,400 people, most of them civilians, were massacred in southern Israel.

“This bill demands in a clear voice to all those who support Hamas Nazis, they are not one of us,” Arbel said in a statement.

The new law would only be valid in times when the Israel Defense Forces Homefront Command has declared an emergency situation — such as the one announced following Hamas’s October 7 massacre — on advice from the Population, Immigration and Border Authority.

For years, some lawmakers and activists have sought such punitive measures for those linked to terrorism. In February, the Knesset passed a law to strip convicted terrorists of Israeli nationality of their citizenship — provided they receive stipends from the Palestinian Authority or an associated organization.

In such cases, citizenship and residency can be revoked at the request of the interior minister, who would have to consult with an advisory committee and obtain the approval of the justice minister before making his recommendation to the courts. It was unclear if the advisory committee would be required for the new legislation, which was being reviewed by the ministry’s legal adviser, according to the Ynet news site.

Maisa Abd Elhadi in ‘Tel Aviv on Fire.’ (Courtesy: Cohen Media Group)

Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Arbel met with legal and judicial officials to discuss the feasibility of the proposal last week, amid outrage over online posts by prominent Arab Israeli actress Maisa Abd Elhadi, who was indicted Sunday for allegedly expressing support for Hamas by posting on social media celebrating the terror group’s October 7 massacre.

“Given the current situation, it was agreed to immediately advance legislation that would view carrying out the above activities at a time of war as sufficient grounds to rescind citizenship or residency,” Arbel and Levin said in a joint statement.

Best known for her role in the 2013 film “World War Z,” as well as several Israeli TV shows, Abd Elhadi was detained after sharing images on Instagram of Yaffa Adar, 85, being taken hostage by Hamas, along with laughing emojis.

Adar was one of at least 247 Israelis believed to have been taken captive by terrorists on October 7 during their murderous rampage through southern Israel.

In a second post, Abd Elhadi shared an image of Hamas forces breaching Israel’s security border, with a caption reading “Let’s go, Berlin style,” in an apparent reference to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

 

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A post shared by Ofer Shechter (@ofershechter)

Arbel said he had asked the Population and Immigration Authority to look into removing Elhadi’s citizenship.

Police say they are taking a zero-tolerance policy toward incitement to violence and support of terrorism.

Carrie Keller-Lynn and Gianluca Pacchiani contributed to this report.

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