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Discriminatory Bills in the 19th Israeli Knesset
October 2013

This document contains a short list of the most dangerous discriminatory new bills
tabled so far by Israeli parliamentarians during the 19th Knesset, which was sworn in on
5 February 2013. Directly and indirectly, these bills threaten the basic rights of
Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of the Occupied Palestinian
Territory (OPT). Adalah is closely monitoring the progress of this legislation and wishes
to bring it to your urgent attention.

Land and Planning Rights

1. The Prawer-Begin Plan Bill (Bill for the Regulation of the Settlement of the
Bedouin in the Negev (2012)1
This governmental bill is the implementing arm of the Prawer Plan and was drafted
following the approval of the report of the government-appointed Prawer Committee. If
passed, it will lead to the forced displacement of tens of thousands of Palestinian
Bedouin citizens of Israel from their homes and land in the unrecognized villages in the
Naqab/Negev. In some cases, the Bedouin have been living in these villages since before
the State of Israel existed; in other cases the villages were established following the
expulsion and relocation of the Bedouin by the military government whose rule was
imposed on them after Israel’s establishment. The Bedouin citizens affected by this
latest bill will be concentrated in government-planned townships, which are totally
unsuited to their traditional way of life, and offered meagre compensation. The bill,
originally submitted on 3 January 2012, was re-tabled on 27 May 2013, after the
incorporation of a number of harmful amendments made by the Ministerial Committee
on Legislation. These changes include reducing the available area to be used in the land
compensation scheme and reducing the timeframe for implementation of the plan from
five to three years.
Status: The bill passed a first reading in the Knesset on 24 June 2013. It will be
discussed in committee when the Knesset starts its new term in mid-October 2013.
The bill in Hebrew | English summary of the bill | Adalah’s position paper

1 Government bill no. 761, tabled on 27 May 2013. 2

Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

2. Contributors to the State Bill – 20132
This government-supported private member’s bill seeks to institute preferential
treatment to citizens who contribute to the state (i.e. serving in the military or the civil
service). It discriminates against Arab citizens of Israel since the vast majority of them
are exempted from military service in the Israeli army for historical and political
reasons. It includes preference in hiring, in job salaries and in receiving services such as
student housing, higher education and allocation of land for housing. The bill states that
such preferential treatment shall not be considered discrimination as prohibited by
Israeli law. The bill also includes consequential amendments to other laws designed to
fulfill the purpose of this bill, including preference in hiring for civil service positions
that are currently allocated to members of specific population groups, including the
Arab minority.
Status: The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved this bill on 16 June 2013.
Modifications were subsequently made and the bill re-submitted on 29 July 2013.
The bill in Hebrew | Adalah’s letter to the Ministerial Committee against the bill

In addition, a series of further bills seek to provide a range of extra financial privileges
to persons who perform military service, including a four-year exemption from national
insurance contributions, reductions in income tax payments for reservists, and a waiver
from television license fees, as well as assistance in studying engineering and
technology.3 One of these bills, The Encouragement of the Study of Engineering and
Technology: Bill to amend the Absorption of Discharged Soldiers Law – 2013, is a private
member’s bill that passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset on 12 June 2013.

Civil and Political Rights

3. A series of bills seek to raise the threshold percentage of votes required for political
parties in order to obtain seats in the Israeli parliament.5 These bills will primarily affect
the Arab political parties, some or all of which would be expected to fall below the new
thresholds if introduced. The bills variously propose to raise the current threshold from
the current 2% to between 3% and 5% in elections to future Knessets. The Palestinian
political parties in Israel reflect the spectrum of political views held by Palestinian
citizens of Israel, from Communist/Jewish-Arab (Hadash/al-Jabha), Islamist (Ra’am-

2 Legislative bill no. P/19/1596, tabled on 29 July 2013.
3 See legislative bill no. P/19/381, tabled on 13 March 2013; legislative bill no. P/19/458, tabled
on 13 March 2013; legislative bill no. P/19/493, tabled on 13 March 2013; legislative bill no.
P/19/868, tabled on 18 March 2013; legislative bill no. P/19/964, tabled on 18 March 2013.
4 Legislative bill no. P/19/868, tabled on 18 March 2013.
5 See legislative bill no. P/19/844, tabled on 13 March 2013; legislative bill no. P/19/956, tabled
on 18 March 2013; legislative bill no. P/19/1131, tabled on 29 April 2013; legislative bill no.
P/19/1160, tabled on 29 April 2013; legislative bill no. P/19/1402, tabled on 17 June 2013. 3

Ta’al), to secular/Arab nationalist (Balad/Tajammoa’). Currently, Hadash/al-Jabha has 4
seats (3.3%), Ra’am-Ta’al has 0 Knesset seats (3.3%), and Balad/Tajammoa’ has 0 seats
(2.5%). The bills therefore represent a direct threat to all the Arab political parties in
the Knesset and to the political participation of Palestinian citizens in national affairs.
Status: One of these bills – The Governance and Raising the Qualifying Election
Threshold, Bill to Amend Basic Law: The Government – 2013,6 which seeks to raise
the qualifying threshold to 4%, has won the government’s support and passed a
first reading in the Knesset on 31 July 2013.
The bill in Hebrew

4. “Jenin, Jenin Bill”: Bill to amend the Defamation Prohibition Law –20137
This private member’s bill adds a new provision to the existing law that allows Israeli
soldiers to file class-action lawsuits against a film director, journalist, or any other
individual alleged for defamation regarding information about any military action
conducted in the OPT. According to the existing law, if the defamatory remarks were
made against a group of people rather than a single person, they cannot file a lawsuit for
defamation as a group without the approval of the Attorney General (AG). The
amendment proposed in the bill seeks to annul the AG’s discretion. The bill threatens
the rights of Palestinian residents of the OPT by further consolidating the existing
impunity and non-accountability enjoyed by the Israeli military.
Status: The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the bill and it passed a
preliminary reading in the Knesset on 22 April 2013.
The bill in Hebrew | Adalah’s letter to the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice
Committee against the bill

5. Basic Law: Israel, Nation State of the Jewish People Bill – 20138
The purpose of this private member’s bill is to constitutionally determine the identity of
the State of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. In practice, the bill will
change the ‘Jewish and democratic’ definition of the state by subordinating the
democratic component and making it secondary to the Jewish component. The bill
states that the right to national self-determination in Israel belongs exclusively to the
Jewish people. Because the proposed legislation has the status of a basic law, its
enactment could be used to justify widespread discrimination against Arab citizens of
Israel, as non-Jews.
Status: The bill has yet to be brought before the Knesset.
The bill in Hebrew

6 Legislative bill no. P/19/1160, tabled on 29 April 2013.
7 Legislative bill no. P/19/1133, tabled on 29 April 2013.
8 Legislative bill no. P/19/1550, tabled on 22 July 2013. 4

Prisoners and Detainees’ Rights

6. Counter-Terrorism Bill – 20119
This expansive governmental bill, spanning over 105 pages of provisions and
explanatory notes, threatens to enact into law various existing procedures, and to
authorize new ones, which are applied discriminatorily against Palestinians from the
OPT and Palestinian citizens of Israel, allegedly in the name of fighting terrorism. The
bill contains troublingly vague definitions of terrorism and terrorist organizations,
which are likely to be exploited in order to criminalize legitimate political action by
Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of the OPT. It seeks to entrench
many emergency regulations currently in effect in Israeli law, some of which date back
to the British Mandatory period, in a move that will significantly undermine the rights of
‘security detainees’. The bill includes additional draconian measures for investigating
detainees accused of security offenses; provides for the extensive use of secret evidence
in court; limits detainees’ access to judicial review; lowers the evidentiary requirements
of the state in such cases; creates new criminal offenses, including for any public
expression of support for or sympathy with a terrorist group; and sharply increases the
maximum sentences for people convicted of security offenses. The complete bill was
first introduced on 37 July 2011 before the 18th Knesset, and was re-tabled in the same
form in accordance with the “continuation procedure” on 9 June 2013 by Justice
Minister Tzipi Livni.
Status: The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the bill on 9 June 2013.
The bill in Hebrew | ACRI’s position paper on the bill | IDI’s critique of the bill

The Occupied Palestinian Territory

7. Bill to amend the Civil Wrongs Law (Liability of the State) (Amendment No. 7)
(Amendment of the Beginning of Article 5b) – 201310
The proposed amendment adopts the minority ruling in the Israeli Supreme Court case
of Derani v. The State of Israel. According to this private member’s bill, a person from a
defined ‘enemy state’ does not have the right to sue for damages retroactively in Israeli
courts. In contrast, people from ‘conflict zones’, meaning the West Bank and Gaza Strip,
can file lawsuits for damages that occurred only before 2000 (the beginning of the
Second Intifada).
Status: The bill passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset on 1 May 2013.
The bill in Hebrew

9 Governmental bill no. 611, tabled on 9 June 2013.
10 Legislative bill no. P/19/818, tabled on 13 March 2013
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