Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Prime Minister Yair Lapid, June 21, 2022.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s recent statements regarding the Kaminitz Law have caused a furor among Zionist voters and candidates alike. Regavim: “Repeal of the law is irresponsible and will cause major harm to the rule of law in the State of Israel.”

In interviews for Arabic-language media outlets on Tuesday, Interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid discussed a range of issue, among them violence in the Arab sector, the housing crisis, and discrimination against the Arab community by Israeli governments. Lapid did not rule out the possibility of forming a coalition with Arab-Israeli parties Hadash and Ta’al, and when an interviewer asked him about the Kaminitz Law, Lapid responded, “We froze the Kaminitz Law for a period of time, and we will delve into this matter after the elections.”


Amendment 116 to Israel’s Planning and Construction Code, also known as the Kaminitz Law, has been bitterly opposed by the Arab sector and its representatives from the day it was voted in by the Knesset in 2018. This highly-effective legislation is the product of Regavim’s intensive research and analysis and the deliberations of a special committee, headed by Deputy Attorney General Erez Kaminitz. The Kaminitz Law is actually a bundle of legislative amendments that gave municipalities jurisdictional and enforcement powers, enabling them to combat the epidemic of illegal construction. For the first time, local officials were given the necessary tools to uphold the law: administrative enforcement procedures and the power to mete out steep penalties for violations of Israel’s construction laws. After the Kaminitz Law went into effect, enforcement authorities reported a dramatic decrease – some 70% nationwide – in illegal construction starts.

Contrary to the claims of “racism,” the Kaminitz Law applies to every citizen of Israel, everywhere in the State of Israel – but the areas that were most dramatically impacted by the sharp drop in illegal construction were the areas in which the problem was most rampant. One of the Ra’am Party’s primary conditions for joining the coalition government formed in 2021 was the repeal of the Kaminitz Law – and the law was suspended almost as soon as the government was sworn in, giving the Arab party a short-sighted political victory at the expense of coherent, sustainable and desperately-needed construction and infrastructure improvements in Arab towns.

Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim, reacted to Lapid’s recent comments, saying, “Yair Lapid is playing fast and loose with the security of the State of Israel. Apparently, the gas deal with Lebanon was only one element in a general sell-off of our national security assets. The stream of irresponsible actions and commitments made by our Prime Minister over the past month should be a wake-up call for anyone who values the rule of law, democracy, and Israel’s security: Handing over sovereign Israeli territory to a hostile enemy without presenting the agreement to the government and to the nation through a referendum, as required by Israel’s Basic Law; expressing commitment – from the podium of the United Nations, no less – to the establishment of a terrorist state in the heart of the Land of Israel; and now, in a reckless, populist campaign promise to the Arab sector, Lapid has given a commitment to amend or repeal the Kaminitz Law. These irresponsible acts are a mortal blow to the rule of law and to the prospects for governance in the Negev and the Galilee.”


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