Bill approved allowing cops to enter homes after noise complaints

"Watered-down" version of bill doesn’t enable police to carry out search of house when responding to the noise complaint.

July 2, 2013 23:33
2 minute read.
Police question youth outside club

Police question youth outside club 370. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)


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The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Tuesday approved in its second and third reading a bill that will allow the police to enter private houses under certain circumstances if they are perceived to be violating noise regulations.

The bill, which the committee referred to as a “watered-down” version of the original bill, doesn’t enable police to carry out a search of the establishment when responding to the noise complaint, a stipulation that was allowed in the previous wording of the bill. The bill will permit police to enter the establishment only if there is reason to believe the noise violation is causing significant harm to the public well-being.

Also Tuesday, a separate meeting was held in the same committee, to discuss reports of police violence against social justice protesters, as well as at violent protests at the Western Wall and elsewhere.

Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg characterized what she described as police violence in recent weeks against social justice protesters as “severe and difficult within a democratic regime,” adding that such violence is used “as a tool against the protests.”

Zandberg, who filed the motion to hold the hearing, also spoke of reports that demonstrators had been sexually harassed by police at recent protests, a claim police deny.

Showing agreement on the issue from across the political spectrum, Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck spoke of police violence against right-wing demonstrators, saying it is a problem that doesn’t differentiate between protesters’ politics, adding that the Justice Ministry is incapable of handling the complaints against police.

The police representative present, Cmdr. Ayelet Elisher, said that police reserve “the right to use reasonable force, a right that is enshrined in the law and examined by the court.” She added that one of the major problems is the lack of coordination between protesters and police, and that when demonstrations aren’t coordinated with police, protesters end up in places where their actions threaten public safety.

Also present was the head of the Justice Ministry’s department for investigating police, attorney Moshe Saadeh, who said that in 2011 there were 800 investigations opened by the department, of which around 20 percent ended in a “significant judgment” or a criminal case.

Social protest leader Daphni Leef also addressed the committee, describing her arrest in June 2012, during which police were videotaped forcefully removing her from Rothschild Square. Leef said of the incident: “I received serious blows to the body, they prevented me from receiving medical treatment, and I was sexually harassed. The Israel Police use their force in a manner that endangers Israeli democracy.”

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