police car 58.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Newly proposed legislation will extend police officers’ authority to conduct
body searches on people to various locations not included in the current law,
and permit them to do so even if they lack reasonable suspicion that the person
being searched is illegally in possession of a weapon or intends to make illegal
use of it, the Justice Ministry announced Sunday.
The legislation will be
included in the Economic Arrangements Bill, a potpourri of measures which
traditionally accompanies the budget bill and is due to be approved by the end
of the year.
The automatic right of police, as well as municipal
inspectors and some soldiers, to search civilians will be extended to
medical centers, kindergartens, primary schools, haredi boys’ schools,
high schools, high schools, summer camps, restaurants, pubs, clubs,
discotheques, pool halls, card and dice games establishments, sports
stadiums, cinemas and theaters.
Currently, officers are only empowered to
conduct body searches and searches of vehicles, baggage and other goods
entrance to ports (airports, railway stations and bus stations),
other defined locations, soldier pickup posts, and checkpoints.
in place now also stipulates that they must have reasonable suspicion
person they are searching is carrying a weapon or planning to use
According to a Justice Ministry press communiqué, “in the context of
the increasing use of knives, especially in places where people
have fun, the Justice Ministry, under the guidance of the
advancing an amendment to the law granting police the authority to
bodily searches in certain locations designated in advance, which are
particularly prone to violence...
“The aim of the law is to allow the
police to cope preventively with displays of violence, thereby
public security. This particularly applies to places where people go to
since these are where we see the [greatest] increase in violence.”
response to the bill’s announcement, the Public Defender’s Office warned
the legislation was part of a trend aimed at significantly restricting
constitutional rights of the individual.
“A person who is not involved in
criminal activity or public disturbances, and where there is not even
evidence of his involvement in such actions, has the right not to be
undergo examinations which restrict his freedom and violate his privacy
branches of the state, including the police,” said the statement
released by the
Public Defender’s Office.
Furthermore, the statement continued, “this
bill goes so far as to grant clear administrative authority, such as the
of detention and even the use of force, to municipal inspectors who,
police, lack the necessary legal and practical training and, worse
not monitored by the professional, disciplinary and specially designated
institutions (such as the Justice Ministry’s Police Inspection
apply to the police. These institutions are a vital way of overseeing
police apply their prerogatives and the powers they have.”