Photo Credit: Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett

The Israel Cabinet met today and approved a proposed new anti-crime bill that would expand the power of the police to conduct searches of people’s homes. The bill, which was put forward by Justice Minister Gidon Sa’ar, would allow more searches in the absence of a court order on the grounds that a “serious crime” was committed.

In most democracies, a warrant must be issued by a court before private property can be searched by the police. Israel does not have the equivalent of a fourth amendment.

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The new law was proposed as part of the Israeli government’s efforts to fight the crime epidemic in the country’s Arab sector. But it’s only a matter of time before this egregious breach in basic democratic values gets expanded to other sectors and additional areas, particularly against settlers.

“We are at war,” Sa’ar told the Cabinet, “and the police and the authorities should be given more tools to help in the fight.”

Hamad Amar, a Druze member of the coalition Yirael Beitenu party who serves as Minister in the Finance Ministry, supports the measure, saying that “the Arab citizen wants only one thing – for the child to return safely.”

The leader of the radical left-wing coalition partner Meretz party, Tamar Zandberg, opposed the move – which would now actually make her the least radical member in the cabinet. Defense Minister Benny Gantz expressed concern that the measure might be expanded to more areas, and called for the change to be temporary, and as we know, there’s nothing more permanent than something temporary.

TPS contributed to this report.

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