The Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services Bill passed its second and third (final) readings in the Knesset plenum on Monday. The bill passed by a vote of 34-0.
Under the terms of the bill, a collaboration of proposals by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (New Right) and MKs Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (New Right), first-time clients who are apprehended would be fined 2,000 shekel ($530), with the penalty increasing to 4,000 shekel ($1,060) for repeat offenders within three years.
Courts may raise the fines to a maximum of 75,300 shekel ($20 thousand). The new law also offers the Justice Ministry the option of instituting other punishments, such as reeducation centers for prostitution clients.
The bill, submitted as a temporary order for five years, will go into effect in eighteen months, in order to give law enforcement ample time to prepare for its implementation, and to expand the rehabilitation programs for prostitutes.
The bill’s authors did not consider the option of permitting prostitutes to work in secure environments, uncontrolled by pimps, where they could be examined for venereal diseases and where their income could be taxable. Instead, the authors argued that “Over the past few years, there has been a growing recognition in Israel that the prostitution industry embodies very harmful characteristics and that it must be diminished through rehabilitation, [informing the public], education and enforcement.”
Meanwhile, on Monday the Knesset also passed a bill amending the Public Health Ordinance, compelling hospitals to install security cameras in wards caring for mentally frail people and people in need of nursing care. The bill permits patients to refuse the cameras and prescribes the manner in which cameras should be installed.
The bill passed by a vote of 26-0.
The bill was sponsored by the government and by MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union). The new law is intended to deter staffers from harming their elderly and mentally disabled patients, so that in cases when a patient has been harmed, the security camera footage can be used in an investigation.