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Israel: Prevention of Entry of Foreign Nationals Promoting Boycott of Israel

(Mar. 17, 2017) On March 6, 2017, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed the Entry into Israel (Amendment No. 28) Law, 5777-2017 (the Amendment Law) (SEFER HAHUKIM [BOOK OF LAWS, the official gazette, SH] 5777 No. 2610, p. 458 (3/14/17), Ministry of Justice website (scroll down to issue No. 2610 (Mar. 14, 2017) (in Hebrew)).  The Amendment Law amends the Entry into Israel Law, 5712-1952 (the Law). (SH 5712 No. 111 p. 354, as amended.)

The Amendment Law prohibits the grant of a permit for entry to and residence in Israel to any person who is not an Israeli citizen or alternatively does not hold a license for permanent residence in Israel if he or she, or the organization or the body for which he or she operates, has knowingly published a public call to engage in a boycott against the State of Israel or has made a commitment to participate in such a boycott.  (Amendment Law, § 1, adding § 2(d) to the Law.)

For the purpose of the prohibition, a “boycott” is defined in accordance with the Law for Prevention of Harm to the State of Israel by Boycott, 5771-2011 (SH 5771 No. 2304, p. 972).  Accordingly,

… “a boycott against the State of Israel”- intentionally abstaining from [engaging in] economic, cultural, or academic contact with a person or with another element [organization], solely because of a link to the State of Israel, one of its institutions, or an area under its control, in a way that may inflict [on the person or the element] economic, cultural, or academic harm.  (Law for Prevention of Harm to the State of Israel by Boycott, 5771-2011, § 1.)

Under special conditions, which must be given in written form, the Minister of the Interior is authorized to deviate from the prohibition under the Amendment Law and grant a permit for entry or residence to a person found to have engaged in the prohibited boycott.  (Amendment Law § 1, adding § 2(e) to the Law.)