Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman signed into law on Thursday an amendment requiring anyone with an identification number to include it on legal court filings.

Following the announcement, complaints arose that this new amendment could prevent access to the courts to people without ID numbers.

Responding to the criticism, the Justice Ministry issued a clarification that the amendment does not apply to a person who was never issued an ID number.

To further reassure the public that the new regulation does not apply to those without ID numbers, the ministry noted firstly that court access is a fundamental right and that the justice minister has no authority to change that.

As fundamental rights are granted by the Knesset, regulations by the Justice Ministry cannot contradict those rights, it said, let alone ones that the courts have recognized as inherent to an individual.

The Justice Ministry also noted that it has issued other regulations in the past with the exact same language, prohibiting people with ID numbers from initiating a lawsuit without providing their number – and that this regulation did not lead to prohibiting court access to anyone without an ID number.

The ministry also clarified that Palestinians submitting pleadings to the court could continue to use the the ID number issued to them by the Palestinian Authority. The statement noted that primarily the regulation would function as a tool of accountability for people who do have ID numbers.

Anyone who wishes to file a court pleading without giving an ID number would have to explain why, and receive special permission from the court to do so.

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