Knesset Roundup | November 12


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Forbidding the Provision of Assistance to Palestinians Illegally Residing in Israel


Bill on Illegal Residence (Prohibition of Assistance) – 2013 

Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs

Sunday, 3/11/2013 | Determining the Government’s Decision


ACRI’s Position: This draft bill seeks to turn a provisional order currently in force into permanent legislation. In 1994, the Knesset approved a temporary provision for a period of six months, the aim of which was to forbid the employment or shelter of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories illegally living in Israel. Since it was first enacted, the provision has been extended time and time again. In 2011, the Ministry of Justice began drafting a legislative memorandum that would enshrine its dictates in law and thus bring to an end the periodic debates on the matter that took place during each extension debate. The memorandum was approved as a law in 2011, but was restricted to a period of three years. The government’s intention is now to turn it into a permanent law.
The bill imposes criminal penalties, including a two-year prison sentence and administrative penalties – such as the immediate confiscation of vehicles, on anyone caught assisting illegal residents. These provisions are likely to encourage racism and will turn law-abiding citizens into criminals for no apparent reason. ACRI’s position is that this provision is not worthy of permanently appearing on the law books of a democratic state, and at the very least, should remain as a temporary measure. The original bill was designed to deal with a unique situation that existed during the intifada and the escalation in terrorist attacks that took place inside Israel. Since then the draconian provisions have been continuously extended. .

Opposing the Wisconsin Plan


Welfare to Work Bill

Labour and Welfare Committee

Monday, 4/11/2013 | Preparation for second and third reading


ACRI’s Position: Prior to the Knesset committee’s discussion on the Welfare to Work Bill (the new ‘Wisconsin Plan’), Rabbis for Human Rights, ACRI, and Community Advocacy made its opposition known to the committee. In our correspondence, the organizations specified key deficiencies in the program including: a lack of job-creation strategies, a comprehensive privatization of government powers, the continued deterioration of employment services, etc. The organizations additionally outlined a number of important amendments that should be inserted into the bill in the event that it continues to advance. Some of these demands include:

  1. All government powers that affect the ability of job seekers to live with dignity must be left in the hands of the State Employment Service. This includes decisions on who to accept to the program, the decision on when to revoke income support, and more.
  2. As a matter of principle, vocational training must be prioritized over sending participants to work that doesn’t pay a sufficient wage or possess future prospects.
  3. Every participant must have the right to employment support services.
  4. The arbitrary decision to set a 30-35 hour weekly working program for all participants needs to be eliminated and replaced with individually tailored programs for each participant.
  5. Each participant requires an individually tailored work program and employment referrals should take into account the personal, social and cultural characteristics of each participant.

In addition to this, the Knesset Information and Research Center, released a report on November 11, 2013, comparing the “new and improved” proposal to versions of the plan that have been rejected in the past. The report found that the new plan is essentially identical to previous versions of the bill that were rejected as being harmful to social rights.

Dispossessing the Bedouins of their Land


Bill for the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, 2013

Internal Affairs and Environment Committee

Wednesday, 6/11/2013 | Preparation for second and third reading


ACRI’s Position: The bill being advanced by the government deals with establishment of a mechanism for investigating and regulating land-ownership in the Negev. This regulation includes determining land ownership claims, liability in respect of such claims and levels of compensation where claims are found to exist, etc. Among the major problems contained in the bill under its current formulation are:

  • The land settlement arrangement has been undertaken without sufficient dialogue with the Bedouin community it affects and is based on erroneous premises.
  • The arrangements contained within the bill harm the human and property rights of the Negev Bedouin and many provisions are a form of collective punishment.
  • The proposal involves the destruction of homes and entire communities, which will irreversibly damage the community’s historical lifestyle.

We believe that this bill will deepen the rift and increase the mistrust between the Bedouin community and the rest of the country. Rather, the government should be promoting a just and historical settlement that would put an end to the discrimination and neglect suffered by Bedouin citizens for decades.
For a comprehensive analysis of the situation, click to read ACRI’s latest report.

Violations of the Rights of Battered Women and their Children


Rights and status of immigrant women who have suffered physical and/or sexual violence

Special Committee on Foreign Workers

Wednesday, 6/11/2013 | Continuation of Committee Discussion


ACRI’s Position: Women who have entered into a relationship with Israeli men, immigrated to Israel, and begun the process of regulating their status, often find themselves as the victims of a violent relationship. Violent and abusive men can take advantage of the fact that their wives are dependent on them for the regulation of their status, and owing to the fact that they have moved to a new country. An immigrant – with temporary status, or with no status at all, is at the bottom of the social ladder and may not know or may be afraid to stand up for her rights.
In many countries, the law encourages migrants who suffer violence at the hands of their local ‘sponsor’, whom they depend upon for the purpose of status, to leave the ‘sponsor’, and allows them in these circumstances to obtain status via a different route. In Israel however, if rumours reach the ears of an Interior Ministry clerk that an immigrant women has left the house of her Israeli ‘sponsor’, that is sufficient to immediately and irrevocably terminate status regulation proceedings.
After a protracted struggle in 2007, a procedure was established to deal with women who have separated from their Israeli partners due to violence. However, experience has taught that many women who have suffered severe violence or prolonged abuse have failed to meet the terms of the new procedure, and their application for permanent status has been rejected. It falls to the Interior Ministry to encourage foreign women who suffer violence or abuse at the hands of their partner to leave their home and deal with the ministry on their own. Unfortunately, this is still not the case.

In the Spotlight:


A Victory for Women’s Rights:
Raising the Minimum Age of Marriage

Monday, October 28


The Working Group for Equality in Personal Status Issues, of which ACRI is a founding member, has been working to have the minimum age of marriage raised from 17 to 18 for more than seven years.
Last week, on November 4, 2013, this aspiration became a reality.
The focus on juvenile marriage is due to the severe consequences of such marriages upon minors. Juvenile marriages often cause harm to the health and physical and psychological condition of the minors involved, and are often exploitative. Marriage at young ages also affects the right to education and can lead to pregnancies at particularly young ages.
As a result, ACRI believes that this new law is of unparalleled importance. Central in this bill is the transmission of the message to the general public that underage marriage is undesirable in our society. The legislation also will help the State of Israel fulfill its statutory obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The final vote passed with 55 votes for and 11 against.


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Categories: Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Arab Citizens of Israel, Citizenship and Residency, Democracy and Civil Liberties, Negev Bedouins and Unrecognized Villages, Privatization, Social and Economic Rights, Women's Rights

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