Religion Magazine

Law Proposals: Child Sensors, Noise, Sexual Harassment Payments, Good Government

By Gldmeier @gldmeier

There have been a few interesting law proposals in the Knesset over the past couple days. Here is a brief compilation of the ones I found particularly interesting:
1. After the tragic accident of the father forgetting his kid in the car, MK Orly Abuksis-Levi (Likud Beyteynu) has proposed a law by which forgetting a child in the car that results in death would be considered a traffic accident.
I don't really understand the logic, but by treating it as a traffic accident, it would motivate the insurance companies to demand the installation of sensors and devices that would identify the presence of a child in the car and warn the driver about it. I think that by considering it a traffic accident, the insurance companies would be liable to pay for the damage, and they would demand installation of such devices to minimize their exposure.
(source: NRG)
2. About 5 weeks ago a law was proposed by which the police would be allowed to enter a home, without a warrant, upon a complaint about loud noise with the perp unwilling to lower the decibel level.
The law was now advanced. It passed the committee vote and will be sent to the Knesset for second and third readings.
The law proposal was actually adjusted and softened. The police originally wanted much more control, such as the ability to search the premises once they have entered the site,  but the legislators don't want to give them so much freedom. As well, it cannot be a situation of reasonable suspicion, but the police have to know definitely of the transgression having been committed.
This was also passed and advanced for second and third readings.
(source: NRG)
I happen to not like this law. It gives the police too much control in  a situation not defined by law as a crime.
3. This one is probably the most significant of the three laws summarized here.
MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) has proposed a law by which people guilty of sexual harassment would have to pay severance to their victims to the tune of 120,000 NIS without requiring proof of damages. The law already stipulated a payment of 50,000 NIS, and this law proposal increases it significantly.
According to Rozin, studies conducted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade have shown that such incidents (often happening in the workplace) are only significantly deterred when it hurts the perpetrators in their pockets - and that of their employers who often cover costs of the cases in court. If an employer knows that by not dealing with harassment issue he will end up paying for it, he will make sure to deal with the situations quickly and put an end to it.
I am not quite sure what the employer has to do with it. The law seems to increase how much the victim can sue for without proof of damages, but I don't see why the employer would have to pay - he could just leave it for the perp to pay. Either way, the point is that someone is going to have to pay so much money that the idea of the punishment will also deter the crime.
I do not know if it will work. So many of these cases are not prosecuted through to a guilty charge anyway, because it is so difficult to gather the necessary evidence. Perps don't necessarily consider the future of a guilty charge, because they think they will never be caught, or never found guilty.
(source: NRG)
4. a law proposal by MK Ronen Hoffman (Yesh Atid) regarding the changing of the system of government passed it's initial reading today, and will now advance to the relevant Knesset committees for discussions, amendments and eventual voting.
The proposal includes a number of changes:

  • raising the electoral threshold to 4%
  • limiting the number of ministers (16) and deputy ministers (4). There will be no "ministers without portfolio", and no minister will hold more than one portfolio.
  • raising the threshold for toppling a government from 61 MKs to 65 MKs.

Regarding raising the electoral threshold, I am in favor. This will probably force small parties to merge with other parties to form one large enough party. It will increase the level of government stability. 
Regarding the limiting of the number of ministers and deputies, I think this too is good. Government has gotten very bloated and wasteful. The political appointments were used as political bribes, and the taxpayer ends up paying for it, with new ministries formed and redundancy and waste, all so that the reigning prime minister can bribe another party or person for support.
Regarding raising the threshold for toppling the government, I understand that it will increase the level of stability, and that itself is good. We average a new government every 2.5 years. The government spends a lot of money on elections far too often. And while it is in election season, the MKs and ministers are getting paid very nicely but they are not working for the public - they are working to get themselves re-elected. And with the government so easily toppled, we end up with unstable government - instead of working for the benefit of the public, they are working to ensure their continued presence in the government, and there is a lack of continuity. Ministers are changed too frequently for  policy to stay in effect long enough to have an affect. 
On the other hand, I fear that this is the government using a strong hand to help itself and make it harder to be toppled. The next government can make changes the way it likes, and after that it can continue to be moved up and down at the will of whoever is running the coalition at the time. Something like this should be consistent. Soon a government will come to power and pass a law that it can be toppled only if 100 MKs vote against it.. 

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