Democracy. Shmemocracy – if you’re noisy, we’ll call the cops, and they’ll break down your door and smash your radio. That is no longer an idle threat, but a real one, in the only Western democracy in the Middle East – because democracy is not for noisy people!
The Knesset on Tuesday gave final approval to a new law permitting police to enter an apartment after receiving a complaint about the noise emanating from it. According to the new law, a police officer may enter the apartment without a warrant and ask the residents to stop the noise. If the noise does not stop, the officer may take the necessary steps to make sure the noise stop.
Until this morning, cops were not allowed to enter an apartment without the consent of the tenants or a warrant.
And, should you expect that this plainly anti-democratic law was shoved down the opposition’s throat by a bullish coalition government – not really. It was passed by a vote of 47 to 4.
Israel’s police receives 286 thousand noise complaints a year – that means that out of every 25 Israelis, one is mad enough about noise pollution to call the police. It means that either Israel is a very noisy country—which it is, but not as bad as you think—or Israelis are easily provoked—which they are, believe me.
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) representative Attorney Lila Margalit noted during Knesset committee discussions that police entry into the home of a person can be problematic from a constitutional perspective. She argued that the police did not provide a sufficient factual basis for the bill.
Factual, shmactual – from now on police don’t even have to pretend they heard a noise before breaking someone’s door down, all they have to do is make an anonymous complaint to themselves.
On the plus side, the new law might cultivate a new generation of extremely stealth Israeli criminals.