Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, passed temporary legislation last night that allows police officers to search homes for illegal weapons without a warrant, particularly in Arab communities. Haaretz There is a report. The purpose is to “reduce the number of illegal weapons used by criminal organizations by providing tools to the Israeli police and other law enforcement authorities.”
According to Haaretz, the temporary law will be in force for one year. It was submitted by MKs from both the coalition and opposition parties, including the six members of the opposition Yisrael Beiteinu.
The law allows career police to enter buildings and search them without a court order, although the permission of an officer of the rank of superintendent or higher must be obtained. This will be documented in accordance with standard police procedures.
It also states that those caught with illegal weapons or essential parts of weapons will face imprisonment of up to 10 years as well as fines. Such weapons will also be confiscated for anyone found guilty of “illegal manufacture, import or export of weapons”.
The move follows a similar law proposed by former Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar in 2021 that only received the first Knesset vote.
The new law has been criticized by human rights advocates, warning that it could “harm Arab society.” Similarly, the Coalition – a political alliance of majority Arab political parties in Israel – described the law as “dangerous”, adding that it “gives the Israeli police and army full powers to enter homes without a court warrant “.
Arab citizens of Israel make up 20 percent of the country’s population. They believe the authorities are deliberately ignoring rising crime rates within their community. Indeed, Arab community leaders in Israel accuse the police of being responsible for the spread of crime within the community, accusing them of “turning a blind eye to the residents’ complaints.”
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