Defense Minister and Blue and White Party chairman Benny Gantz issued a memorandum of new regulations on Thursday that would allow victims of sexual and commercial offenses to testify without the defendant present. The move was adopted on his final day in office as acting justice minister.
The memorandum was published on Gantz's last day in order to allow the bill to be enacted without an acting justice minister.
According to the memorandum, victims will also not be required to receive a professional opinion on whether the defendant has the intent to harm the witness or testimony procedures. Prior to this change, the victim was required to submit a request 20 days before giving testimony, which will now be allowed to be submitted 14 days before.
"These are important regulations that will make it easier for victims of sexual offenses to give their testimony. It is our commitment to ensure that the system does everything in its power to prevent further suffering and difficulty, and to encourage courage and bravery," Gantz said.
"Starting tomorrow [Friday] there will be no justice minister to head the ministry so I saw fit to promote important regulations like these that, which by tomorrow will not be possible to advance, as with many other bills, due to the fact that no minister will head the ministry," Gantz added.
Gantz further noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is causing great harm by leaving the position of justice minister vacant, saying "the prime minister's decision to leave the Justice Ministry without an incumbent minister is serious and primarily harms citizens who need the ministry's assistance in advancing important laws and regulations that will help them."