"This law is worse than the Nuremberg Laws," Knesset Member Talab El-Sana of the United Arab List-Ta'al party told a Knesset committee discussing the an amendment to Basic Law: The Knesset, which would forbid candidates who have visited enemy states without permission from running for office.
The Nuremberg Laws, passed in 1935, stripped Jews of their German citizenship and introduced a new distinction between “Reich citizens” and “nationals.”
MK El-Sana was removed from the meeting by House Committee chairman David Tal (Kadima) in light of the harsh remark.
"Members of the fifth column are allowed to say anything," MK Zevulun Orlev (National Union – NRP), who, along with Yisrael Beiteinu MK Esterina Tartman, initiated the so-called "Bishara Law", named after former Balad Party chairman Azmi Bishara, who fled the country after being suspected of aiding Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War.
El-Sana responded by saying "Orlev is busy thinking about laws instead of reading the bible; we will continue to visit enemy states and support peace at the same time."
'We shouldn't be naive'MK Alex Miller, also of Yisrael Beiteinu, said "this is the level of the Arab Knesset members."
The committee eventually decided by a majority vote to prepare the bill for its first reading.
During the meeting Orlev explained his reason for submitting the bill: "When an Arab political leader travels to an enemy state, we should not be naïve as to the motive for the trip, his loyalty to Israel and the damage caused to Israel's security as a result. Some Arab leaders in Israel have called out against Israel's Jewish identity and support the Arab countries' armed struggle."
Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On, who opposed the bill, told the House Committee members that she did not "support" visits to enemy states, but added that they had "no connection to the armed struggle".
According to her, "there is an atmosphere in the Knesset which is aimed at expelling Arabs from the plenum."
Orlev said in response that he is interested in having Arabs serve in the Knesset so long as they are "loyal to the Jewish and democratic state".
Kadima member Yoel Hasson said "the MKs who claim to represent the Arab population do not really represent the entire Arab sector. The Zionist parties have done more for the good of the Arab public than the Arab MKs who brought about this bill in the first place."
Deputy Attorney General Yehoshua Schoffman said the government decided to support the bill after a compromise was reached in the preliminary reading according to which candidates who visit enemy stated will be forbidden from running for Knesset unless a court of law decides otherwise.
Sharon Roffe-Ofir contributed to the report