Knesset Approves Crime Labeling Law

The Knesset on Sunday passed a right-backed law that makes terrorist, nationalist or racist motives an aggravating factor in crimes of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Aggravating factors come into play at sentencing and may prompt judges to impose a sentence closer to the legal maximum.

Sponsored by a group of lawmakers led by MK Limor Son Har Melech of the far-right coalition faction Otzma Yehudit and MK Yulia Malinovsky of the right-wing opposition Yisrael Beytenu party, the new law marked a rare case of transverse alignment of the Knesset and was adopted by 39 votes against 7 during its final reading.

The law provides for double penalties for sexual harassment motivated by racism or hostility towards certain minorities. In addition, it establishes reporting requirements, with justice and national security ministers required to report law enforcement statistics to the Knesset National Security Committee annually.

The law quickly came under heavy criticism from a hardline Arab lawmaker and the umbrella organization Rape Centers in Israel, both of whom claimed the law inappropriately established a ranking of the seriousness of these crimes.

Radical Arab Hadash-Ta’al Alliance MK Aida Touma-Sliman, former chairwoman of the Knesset’s Status of Women Committee, told the Knesset: “Don’t punish based on hierarchies and classifications. »

“Shame on these laws,” she continued, tweeting after the law was passed: “Don’t promote racism on the backs of victims! »

Touma-Sliman told the plenum that sex offenders were “despicable” and should be judged on the basis of their crime, not their identity.

“I don’t care if [a sex offender] is Jewish or Arab, or if the victim is Jewish or Arab,” she said, refraining from saying the law could be applied disproportionately to abusers. Arabs of Jewish victims.

Orit Soliciano, who heads the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, an organization that brings together nine crisis service providers, told The Times of Israel that his organization also opposes the law.

“We believe there is an epidemic of sexual violence in Israel; many women, girls and boys are suffering. The perpetrators should be severely punished, which is not always the case in Israel. But to say that one rape is more horrific than another, we do not support that,” she said.

We don’t want survivors to feel like their experience is less important, once rapes are categorized according to their circumstances,” she added.

“We think it is very dangerous to create this type of ranking. »

During the process of preparing the bill in committee for the final vote, as well as in the explanatory notes accompanying the text, supporters of the bill alleged that Israel was facing an increase in sexual assaults motivated by considerations. national.

Soliciano said the Association of Rape Crisis Centers “does not see such a phenomenon in our data — rape as a form of terrorism.”

In 2012, a brutal rape in central Tel Aviv, in which a Palestinian from the West Bank assaulted a young Israeli couple, shocked the nation. Three years later, the court declared it had a nationalist underpinning, following a thorough investigation.

Late last year, an Arab man received a lighter sentence for raping a 10-year-old Israeli child, sparking anger in the local community. In February, an Arab man raped an Israeli mother in front of her children in the southern town of Gedera. But none of these tragic events was considered a terrorist attack.

This article is originally published on

Previous post Bolloré Influence: JDD Strike Sparks EU Investigation
Next post Palestinians form committee to try to end divisions