Knesset Roundup | March 4

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Rights of Battered Women who Lack Legal Status

 

Special Committee on Foreign Workers

Tuesday, 04/03/14 | 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 victims of violent relationships. Violent and abusive men can take advantage of the fact that their immigrant wives are entirely dependent on them for the regulation of their status. An immigrant with temporary status, or with no status at all, is at the bottom of the social hierarchy and may not know how, 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 an Interior Ministry clerk that an immigrant women has left the house of her Israeli ‘sponsor’, that is sufficient to immediately and irreversibly 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.

Restricting Free Speech for NGOs

 

NGO Law (Amendment: Restrictions to Registration) 2013

Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs

Sunday, 02/03/14 | Determining the Government’s Position

 

ACRI’s Position: This amendment to the NGO Law, tabled by MK Miri Regev, would enable the State to prevent an organization’s registration if any of its objectives contradict the definition of ‘Israel as a Jewish and democratic state’. This marks a substantial departure from the current law, which prohibits non profit organizations from taking actions against the state’s existence or denying its democratic character.
 
The bill would endanger a giant swath of activities. Criticism, protest, combating religious coercion, the promotion of religious pluralism, the struggle for equal rights, protection of minorities’ human rights – all of these are activities that might be interpreted as denying the Jewish character of the state of Israel. As such, a long list of organizations could be de-registered, including: the Reform, Conservative (Masorti) and other Jewish pluralistic movements; organizations supporting full civic equality for minorities in Israel within the framework of a democratic government; companies or organizations that work on the Sabbath; and many others.
 
If this bill is passed, Israel will join a dubious list of countries in which there is no freedom of activity for civil society organizations. This bill targets anyone whose outlook and actions are inconsistent with the positions of the present political majority.
 
Additional Materials
Further background and additional information on what activities this bill would affect.

Police Powers to Search & Seize

 

Criminal Procedures Bill (Powers of Enforcement – Search, Entry & Seizure)

Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs

Sunday, 23/02/14 | Determining the Government’s Position

 

ACRI’s Position: This bill seeks to implement a set of comprehensive reforms to police powers to perform searches, to require suspects to produce documents during investigations, to seize evidence, and to enable access to electronic materials. ACRI welcomes the attempt to provide clarity to this issue and establish clear policies regarding police and judicial authority and discretion. However, these limits must be strictly enforced in order to prevent the abuse of wide-ranging police powers and the violation of privacy and other human rights. ACRI will continue to examine this bill, and insist on further discussions to ensure the inclusion of a rights-based perspective.

Counter-Terrorism Legislation vs. Democracy

 

Counter-Terrorism Bill – 2011

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee

Monday, 17/02/14 | Preparation for a Second & Third Reading

 

ACRI’s Position: ACRI naturally appreciates the importance of effectively combating terrorism. Preventing terrorist activities lies at the forefront of the state’s duty to protect its citizens, and it is appropriate that the state be granted significant powers to this end. However, the challenge in a democracy is to confront terrorism, while preserving human rights and fundamental democratic principles, which are the basis of a nation’s existence. This bill, in its current form, seeks to normalize, and in some cases aggravate, draconian emergency provisions and defence regulations dating back to the British Mandate. The broad and ambiguous definitions included within the bill and the wide-ranging powers it grants to authorities, creates a dangerous pattern where human rights considerations are disregarded.
 
Some of the key concerns within this bill include:

  • Setting broad and sweeping definitions of such terms as “terrorist organization”, “member of a terrorist organization” and “terror act”, that could be applied to people and organizations that are not engaged in terrorism;
  • Permanently enshrining in legislation the State’s extreme authority to administratively detain people and restrict their free movement through restraining orders;
  • Incorporating new criminal offences that unnecessarily violate freedom of expression;
  • The extensive use of classified materials in a variety of procedures, in violation of the right to due process;

 
Additional Materials
Further background on this bill and a more comprehensive list of its dangerous provisions.
ACRI’s Position Paper that was sent to the members of the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs

In the Spotlight:

 

Ha’aretz

Arab teacher strip-searched before flying with her Jewish students

Wednesday, February 26

 

Photo by Nir Keidar

“Shehadeh, a Christian Arab who was born in Safed and has taught tourism at a Jewish high school in Tirat Carmel for 19 years, was returning from a school trip to Eilat with her students.
As soon as she reached the security screening station, she was separated from her students and treated like an arch-terrorist.”
 
[…]
 
“… at Eilat Airport, before the return flight, someone decided that she needed to be searched more thoroughly. She was taken aside to a small room where, she says, she was strip-searched. A security officer was stationed outside the room, while inside, a woman inspector wearing gloves began probing all through her carefully-styled hair. “They touched me all over my body. They even asked me about my bones. They asked me to take off my slacks, my bra. I remained in my underpants,” she says, as the tears come back. “When I complained, they asked me: ‘Do you want to do this the easy way, or stay here?’ I went through close to an hour of humiliation that way.”
 
Following this incident, ACRI appeared at a Knesset Committee discussion dedicated to profiling and racism at the airport.
The Airport Authority’s Legal Adviser claim that Arabs are not singled out for special treatment by security officers was met with skepticism by Knesset members.
 
ACRI presented its position that while it welcomes technological improvements that should theoretically limit the invasive nature of security checks, the state still treats entire population groups as a threat.

 

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Categories: Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Arab Citizens of Israel, Democracy and Civil Liberties, Due Process, Freedom of Expression, Racism and Discrimination

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