Cops oppose 'Shai Dromi' self-defence bill

Israel Police: It would encourage people to take the law into their own hands.

Dromi 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 1)
Dromi 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 1)
The Israel Police opposes a bill that would grant additional legal protection to homeowners, businessmen and farmers who shoot at intruders, because of concern it would encourage people to take the law into their own hands. "I would not like to put such power in the hands of private individuals," police Supt. Liat Lav told the Knesset Law Committee on Wednesday. "Policemen themselves do not like to shoot. There are many stages along the way before they can open fire." The panel is preparing the bill for second and final readings in the plenum. The bill is known as the "Shai Dromi Law" because it was inspired by an incident in January 2007 in which Dromi was indicted for murder for killing a Beduin who had trespassed on his Negev ranch to steal sheep. The incident led to a public outcry justifying Dromi's actions, especially because of the increasing number of thefts in the agricultural sector. The plenum approved in first reading two variations of the bill, one proposed by the government and the other by a group of MKs including Yisrael Katz (Likud), Zvi Hendel and Eli Gabai (National Union-National Religious Party), and Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Israel Beiteinu). According to Lav, "The current law provides appropriate protection and I don't think it should be changed." During a previous meeting to discuss the final draft of the bill, the MKs appeared to be heading toward a compromise with the government on a key clauses in their proposal. They agreed that for a property owner to be absolved of criminal responsibility for shooting at an intruder, his response must be immediate and reasonable. These constraints did not appear in their original version. However, contrary to the government, the MKs insisted on providing the same protection to farmers and business owners as they did to homeowners. They compromised with the government to the extent that they agreed that the protection should only extend to the farmer's home and "fenced-in area." During the meeting, it emerged that there were differences of opinion as to how to define the concept of "fenced-in area." Committee Chairman Menahem Ben-Sasson (Kadima) decided to send the bill back to the Ministerial Legislation Committee to make that decision.