A bill to counter the proliferation of illegal firearms in the Arab sector passed its preliminary reading at the Knesset plenum on Wednesday night.
If passed into law, police officers would temporarily be able to search a house where they suspected illegal weapons were being stored without a judge's order or approval of a police superintendent. This new power would last for a year from the law's implementation.
The bill would also see the punishment increased for those caught with illegal weapons. Those convicted could see a maximum prison term of up to five years. The bill would not allow for less than half of the maximum sentence to be applied.
Ben-Gvir: Law is needed to stop Arab sector gun crime
"The bill I submitted brings with it the provision of effective enforcement tools against the war on crime in the Arab sector, in addition, the law includes prison sentences and fines, but the unique news here is the provision of confiscation of funds which has been proven to be a powerful and effective tool," said Otzma Yehudit MK Yitzhak Kreuzer.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said when he presented the law at the plenum that similar bills had been presented in the past, but had been too extreme in the powers that they provided to police. He argued that that the law was needed to stop gun crime in the Arab sector and the deaths of innocent people.
Israel has seen an ongoing issue of gun crime in the Arab sector, with some of the weapons being smuggled from neighboring countries, and some being stolen or sold from military bases.
Lod Mayor Yair Revivo on Wednesday decried government inaction against gun crime in his mixed Arab-Jewish city after the second criminal assassination that day.
"With all due respect to the [judicial] reform, you need to also immediately devote time to changing legislation, so that the Shin Bet will come in to deal with crime tomorrow, that illegal gun owners will finally go to prison, and that crime families will be expelled from the city," said Revivo. "Our prime minister, come to Lod and act, we're afraid!"
Israel Police gun busts
Israel Police announce illegal gun busts on a nearly daily basis. On Thursday, Jerusalem police announced that they had seized a pistol and parts of an AR-15 family weapon in the search of a Beit Hanina resident's house. The suspect also had an IDF military vest, a stun grenade, fireworks, and assorted types of ammunition.
"The increased activity and the concentration of police effort in east Jerusalem with an emphasis on maintaining ongoing security, the fight against terrorist operatives and their supporters, the arrest of perpetrators of crime, instigators and violent troublemakers, will continue in the coming days for the purpose of maintaining the safety and security of the citizens of Israel," said the Police spokesperson.