Efrat settlement, West Bank.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Legislation that would penalize businesses who refuse to deliver their products to the West Bank received the Ministerial Committee for Legislation’s approval Sunday.
The bill by MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi) states that customers who face location-based discrimination, no matter where they are in Israel, could sue businesses for up to NIS 50,000, without proof of damages.
The proposal would apply to businesses with at least 100 employees that say they provide services throughout the country, such that it would not apply to small businesses, but to large chains and companies.
Such a company could face a lawsuit if they provide services in one location, but not another that is equidistant from it.
An exception would be made in cases of serious security concerns.
“The bizarre situation in which hundreds of thousands of Israelis do not receive services equal to the rest of the citizens of the state because of where they live must stop,” Moalem-Refaeli said. “It cannot be that a resident of Judea and Samaria will be told in an electronics store in the center of the country or in Jerusalem that they have to figure out delivery themselves. It is unreasonable that a furniture store that delivers to Eilat will demand a higher price to send to towns in the Arava.”
Moalem-Refaeli explained the law was inspired by a situation in which many residents of the West Bank have bought home electronics or furniture, only to find that the store will not bring it to their homes, and then had to pay a higher price for delivery. Residents of the periphery who live outside of major cities have faced similar situations, she added.
The Bayit Yehudi MK added: “Residents of Judea and Samaria and the periphery are citizens with rights. They cannot be discriminated against or receive prices for second-class citizens.”
Moalem-Refaeli proposed a similar bill in the last Knesset, and when she did not make it into this one after last year’s election, former MK Yinon Magal took up the mantle.
However, when Magal quit due to sexual harassment allegations, Moalem-Refaeli – who re-entered the Knesset late last year - decided to revive the proposal yet again.