Photo: Niv Calderon
MK BIshara. Escaped trial
Photo: Niv Calderon

Ministers revoke former MK Bishara's pension

Ministerial Committee approves bill aimed at halting the transfer of wages, payments from State to wanted lawmaker who fled country

The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs on Sunday approved the "Bishara law", named after former Knesset Member Azmi Bishara (Balad), who was questioned on suspicion of aiding Hezbollah but fled the country and continued to receive his pension from the Knesset.


Six ministers voted in favor of revoking Bishara's pension, while two – Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman and Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog – voted against the proposal. Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz said during the discussion, "Should the State fund traitors? What an absurdity."


The bill is aimed at halting the transfer of wages, pensions and other payments from the State Treasury to a current or former Knesset member wanted for questioning, or one who has been indicted or convicted of a serious offense committed during his Knesset term and has failed to report to the police or to jail.

According to the proposal, the offense carries a sentence of five years or more in prison.


The bill's initiators explained that today, a serving or former Knesset member may continue enjoying pensions and other payments from the Knesset despite failing to report to court or to the police.


"The current situation creates a distortion, and therefore we must set a norm according to which public servants fulfill their duties in the framework of the law and subject to the law enforcement authorities. This is a reasonable move which any democracy which has to defend itself should take."


'Treason has become a profitable business'

The bill was submitted by MKs Yariv Levin (Likud) and Israel Hasson (Kadima). "I am determined to stop the situation in which treason has become an profitable business in the State of Israel, which yields Bishara the traitor thousands of shekels a month," MK Yariv said.


He added that "this absurd situation infuriates any loyal citizen in this country and it's our duty to put an end to this unbearable situation."


Bishara, former chairman of the Balad party, fled Israel in 2007 after being questioned several times on suspicion of aiding Hezbollah with information during the Second Lebanon War.


He was never indicted and has repeatedly attacked Israel's policy in public performances and interviews abroad.


Several months after he escaped, the High Court of Justice ruled that he would continue to receive a monthly pension as a former Knesset member. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish and Judges Miriam Naor and Edna Arbel rejected a petition filed by MK Danny Danon, who asked to revoke Bishara's citizenship. The judges refused to intervene, saying the constitutional proceedings had yet to be completed.



פרסום ראשון: 07.11.10, 19:09
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