Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett (R) welcomes veteran television news anchor Yinon Magal.
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
A bill fining business owners for location-based discrimination passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset on Wednesday.
Under the legislation submitted by MK Yinon Magal (Bayit Yehudi), a company would have to state in advance the areas to which it does not provide services or deliver products. If the company does not notify a customer of its limitations in advance, it will be required to pay a NIS 10,000 penalty without proof of damages to the customer.
In addition, the bill would prohibit residence-based discrimination in the place of business, so, for example, a bouncer at a bar or nightclub cannot turn people away based on their residence in the West Bank or in a predominately Arab town.
Presenting the government’s position in support of the measure, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) told the Knesset she has heard complaints from people who bought furniture and appliances, and then the store refused to deliver them to the West Bank.
“This may seem to be about products and services, but practically, it’s about citizens being defined as first class and second class,” Shaked said. “Slowly, slowly, we will uproot this unnecessary differentiation. Judea and Samaria is the same as Tel Aviv.”
Shaked expressed hope that the bill will pass within two weeks.
MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) called the legislation “creeping annexation” and “cheap populism.”
“The bottom line is about making the territories the same as Tel Aviv,” Rozin said. “This is about going over the Green Line and breaking international law.”
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the bill on Sunday, after it was significantly softened. Magal’s original draft, based on one proposed in the last Knesset by then-Bayit Yehudi MKs Orit Struck and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli sought to make it illegal for businesses to refuse deliver or provide services to any area, unless doing so entailed a significant security or financial risk.
After the ministerial vote, Magal said the bill will “stop the abnormal situation in which people suddenly learn that a company does not provide them services just because they live far away or in a place that is not in the consensus, as well as the shameful boycott of people because of where they live, whether it is Ariel [in Samaria] or Katzrin [on the Golan Heights] or Bat Yam [next to Tel Aviv].”