(photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
Two bills increasing the punishment for and definition of sexual harassment
passed preliminary votes in the Knesset Wednesday.
The first bill,
proposed by MK Michal Roisin (Meretz) increases the penalty a judge can charge a
harasser in a civil lawsuit without proof of damage from NIS 50,000 to NIS
Presenting the legislation in the plenum, Roisin said that an
Economy and Trade Ministry report found 165,000 women reported sexual harassment
in the workplace last year, but cited a different poll that 92 percent of women
who were harassed do not complain.
Sexual harassment has an economic
price, Roisin added, as 11,000 victims left their jobs last year, and those who
don’t often become more productive.
The Meretz MK estimated that the
non-productiveness brings a lost of NIS 13,500 per victim each year and that the
Economy Ministry calculated that a billion shekels are lost annually due to
sexual harassment in the workplace.
“By raising the maximum compensation,
the punishment for harassment will be increased. As such, the deterrence will
increase, because the defendant will have to pay a high price on the criminal
and civil level,” Roisin explained in the bill’s explanatory portion.
legislation passed with 36 in favor and none opposed.
Also Wednesday, the
“Sex Tape Bill,” criminalizing the dissemination of nude or sexual photos or
videos without permission, passed a preliminary reading.
proposed by MK Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid) would make posting such photos or videos
a criminal act of sexual harassment that carries up to five years
According to Kariv, publicizing sexual videos and pictures “is
not a prank; it is a systematic phenomenon that needs to be taken care of and
stopped.” The bill passed with 42 MKs in favor and none against.