Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Israeli border guard police officers perform a body search on a suspect in Jerusalem, April 1, 2022.

On Tuesday, the Knesset approved several bills that were submitted that would make most red-blooded Americans flinch, because, you know, the bill of rights?

Here we go:


Combating Illegal Weapons Act 5783 – 2023

This law is based on a bill originally submitted by Gideon Sa’ar during the Bennett-Lapid government. The official initiators of this bill are: Yitzhak Kreuzer, Oded Forer, Avigdor Lieberman, Yevgeni Sova, Sharon Nir, Yulia Malinovski, Hamed Amar of the Yisrael Beytenu party.

The stated purpose is to find, fight and seize illegal weapons [that have flooded Arab society and led to armed clan wars, extortion, gun violence and murders]. But its scope goes beyond that, and we won’t be surprised when its use extends beyond the limited imaginations of its sponsors.

The law will be in place for one year.

A police officer may, without a search warrant, enter and search any house or place if reasonable suspicion has arisen that there is a weapon or an essential part of a weapon there that may be used as evidence for the commission of a crime; if failure to perform the search immediately would frustrate the purpose of the search, and it is not possible to obtain a search warrant to prevent eliminating the evidence – the search will be carried out after obtaining the permission of a police officer in the rank of superintendent and above; the approval will be documented in writing and will include the circumstances and reasons for why the search is required immediately and without a warrant.

The law extends beyond just illegal weapons, but also to devices that contain cameras, such as cellphones or home security monitors:

A reasonable suspicion has arisen that there is in the house or in a place video documentation or a camera that may be used as evidence of committing a serious crime or an offense according to sections 144(a), (b) or 340a(b) of the Penal Law, if the search is not carried out in an immediate manner would frustrate the purpose of the search, and a search warrant cannot be obtained given the need, perform the search immediately to avoid loss of, or damage to evidence.

Call it illegal search and seizure where the police are supervised by the police and not an outside body, such as the court.

If the police officer finds something else illegal that he wasn’t looking for in your home during his warrantless search, he must present it to a judge – the same judge who should have given a warrant but wasn’t asked – and the judge will decide what should be done with the item.

There’s obviously no way this law is going to be abused by the police.

Collection and Analysis of Passenger Data Entering or Leaving Israel Act 2023-2023

The head of the National Center for the Diagnosis of Passenger Data may demand from a passenger carrier information about all the passengers and flight crew on the aircraft. The data must be submitted no later than 48 hours before the time of departure; when a passenger checks in; immediately after closing the aircraft’s door so no additional passengers may embark.

If a center employee becomes suspicious about a passenger or a crew member at a later time, the carrier must provide the requested information.

The center will be independent in exercising its powers to fulfill its duties, according to the provisions of this law.

Enforcement powers – Amendment Permitting Body Search and Taking Means of Identification 5783 – 2023

The new law is based on an agreement between the governments of Israel and the United States on enhancing cooperation in preventing and combating serious crime and terrorism.

It includes among other things instructions regarding the transfer of a person’s identification information or identification data generated from his fingerprints, including any accompanying official documents which reflect it, and which were authorized by agents of the governments of Israel and the United States of America.

Were you picked up for any kind of low-level misdemeanor and fingerprinted at your local Israeli police station? The US is now entitled to receive your fingerprints without going through those needless red-tape procedures that involve the court. Things will be so much smoother from now on.

Israelis never really caught on to the concept that increased security always comes at the price of lost liberty. But still, one would think a country up in arms against judicial reforms that actually strengthen democracy, would manage to hold a protest or two against laws that could strike at their basic civil rights.

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