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The Minister Zeev Elkin: «Democracy needs to defend itself». Interview

The coalition initiated a bill, according to which the Deputy may be dismissed from Parliament if he acts, to the detriment of the state of Israel. About the essence and purposes of this bill in an interview with said one of its authors, the Minister of aliyah and immigrant absorption and Minister for Jerusalem Affairs ze’ev Elkin.

Mr. Elkin, in your bill?

The idea is very simple. To date, there are no real penalties that would apply in respect of MPs from the Arab parties. These deputies openly act to the detriment of the state of Israel, and their steps become more and more provocative. The maximum punishment which may be imposed on MPs is a six-month ban on speech in the plenary of the Knesset, with pay, as well as all rights and privileges.

Given the publicity that Hanin Zuabi and her friends get, they are ready to abandon the speech in the Knesset for six months. In this action-Zuabi, Schalke and Ratas affect the rest of the Arab MPs, who in backroom conversations indicate that they will have to become more radical in anti-Israel rhetoric, not to lose on points to their colleagues in the public opinion in the Arab sector.

And the drift into the abyss must be stopped.

The essence of the law is very simple. Each member at the beginning of his tenure signed the commitment to comply with three and a half terms of the Basic law of the Knesset: do not deny the status of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, not to engage in propaganda of racism and to provide support to terrorist organizations and hostile countries, as well as not to visit these countries.

The idea for the bill arose after Arab MKS met with family members of terrorists?

I must say that similar ideas were put forward earlier, but a serious proposal, supported by the Prime Minister and the heads of all the factions of the coalition appeared after the meeting of deputies with the relatives of the terrorists. But it’s not just the meeting itself. Deputies from BALAD stood a minute of silence in memory of the dead terrorists. It is a Frank solidarity with the acts of terror, crossing another red line.

What is the current procedure for recall of a Deputy?

To date, no procedure for recall of a Deputy. If the court found the MP guilty of a crime that requires his dismissal from the Knesset, the Deputy should resign even in the event of an appeal in a higher court. During the pendency of the appeal in the Knesset, is next in the party list candidate. If the appeal is upheld, dismissed the Deputy returned to work.

Maybe there is a sense in which only policy violated the law could be deprived of the Deputy mandate? Who are we, rather, who are you to dismiss deputies, representing their constituents and acting within the law?

The answer is very simple. When he ran for the Knesset, members were pledged, of which I have spoken above. This so-called «paragraph 7» Basic law: the Knesset. Acting the way they are today, deputies violate their commitments.

Let’s be clear. These obligations are defined under the law?

Yes, but the law does not stipulate liability for the violation of these obligations. In fact, these obligations may be fictitious. If you want, I can compare this with getting the Israeli citizenship. Imagine that the man had falsified documents about his Jewish identity to get citizenship of Israel. When the deception is revealed, the person is deprived of citizenship. Deprivation of citizenship is much more serious penalty than the deprivation of parliamentary status. By the same logic we believe that if the Deputy had signed certain obligations, and then started to break them consciously, we are talking about fraud, which must entail deprivation of parliamentary status.

Why the right of recall of the Deputy is given to other politicians, and not say, attorney General or state Comptroller?

Neither the legal Advisor to the government, nor the state Comptroller is not authorized to deprive the deputies of their status. Legal counsel can only give the Deputy the courts and the state Comptroller generally does not control the Knesset. It is therefore evident that to lead to the dismissal of a Deputy can only the rest of the deputies. But we’re not talking about accidental, momentary, and on qualified majority. This is a very serious step, and in order to make the necessary support of three-quarters of a DePuy corps (90 deputies – approx.ed.), that is here we are not talking about a coalition majority, the need for serious support of the opposition.

By the way, today, under current law, 90 deputies can dismiss the President, the first person of the country. 90 deputies can dismiss the speaker of the Knesset, which is elected to complete the term of office. That’s why we took this number for the model.

However, we offer a very serious procedure of deprivation of the Deputy powers. Must be filed to the Knesset’s regulations, and the notice of appeal must be filed at least 61 Deputy. The Commission by regulation, holds hearings, where the Deputy can be protected with the assistance of counsel. For the claim and transfer it to the plenary of the Knesset, the necessary three-quarters vote of the members of the Commission, and then, as I said, three-quarters of the votes at the plenary session.

The mechanism, which operates at the recall of the President, we propose to use here. Only when talking about the recall of the President, referred to «misconduct» with ill-defined criteria, in the Deputy case we are talking about the violation of the obligations that the MP took charge.

By the way, the U.S. President who was elected by the Congress, can be revoked by a two-thirds majority of the votes of the congressmen.

The bill has caused friction in the coalition. Bezalel Smotrich, a Deputy from the party «Bayt Yehudi» was against several ultra-Orthodox deputies were against. Your law is a double – edged sword, today it is the radical Arabs, tomorrow or the radical Jews.

First, neither coalition party had opposed the law, all heads of parties comprising the coalition, said that support it. Some MPs have expressed some concerns, however, I think that eventually everyone will support this initiative. We also have an agreement with the party «Israel Our home», which guaranteed support for the bill.

I understand some concerns, but the Knesset is obliged to get their hands on a tool to deal with such deputies, as Hanin Zuabi, as Jamal Zahalka Basel or the Ratas. They openly support terror, during the operation «enduring rock» supported Hamas. This phenomenon must end.

Must say that personally I was very disappointed with the position of Yair Lapid, Tzipi Livni and Yitzchak Herzog. They are all very zealously played last week against Arab members, but when it came to voting on the bill backed out. I understand what it involves – and Lapid, and the Duke see themselves as candidates for Prime Minister from the leftist camp, and they need the recommendation of the Arab deputies from the President.

Since the beginning of this government there is a sense that the right-wing, to put it simply, are tightening the screws. The initiative of the Minister of culture Miri Regev, the law on NGOs, the bill now. Us all this is vital?

I think the problem is the reverse: some far left and Arab deputies, and public figures contrary to spin the nuts, and we are seeing them increasingly active in anti-Israel activities. If we talk about the far left, they are engaged in the international arena activities directed against Israeli soldiers and officers: the formal complaints, collecting compromising materials, and, as a rule, false. If we are talking about Arab deputies, apart from the last incident, I can recall the fleets, in which they took part against the law, I can recall their activity during operation «protective edge». Antiizralskaya the activities of Arab members of leftist organizations and is becoming more brazen, and the country needs to defend itself.

You are right, in the Knesset on the 20th convocation we are able to carry out the laws and decisions that will allow the country to defend themselves. We were able to spend some laws of this kind in the Knesset of the 18th convocation, when I was head of a coalition government. Then we were accused of fascism, nationalism and God knows what else. I’ve always said that the right camp constantly coming to power, but to govern is not solved. It is time for this practice to change. But the point here, by the way, not only in the right and left. All the polls show the steps for the Arab deputies to have wide public support. That is why the opposition leaders had made vociferous slogans, and the reverse was given only when needed to confirm these slogans. Today everything, including left-wing voters understand that democracy must be able to defend themselves, otherwise it is easily destroyed.

Interviewed Gabby Wolfson

The Minister Zeev Elkin: «Democracy needs to defend itself». Interview 11.02.2016

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