Israel’s Knesset considers ‘Extension of Powers Act’ that would ‘transfer legislative powers to the government, granting near-absolute power to exercise parliamentary control’

A bill before Israel’s Knesset would extend the validity of the Special Authorities for Dealing with the New Coronavirus until the end of December 2022, and amend the law to grant government authority to obligate COVID-19 tests and mete criminal penalties for noncompliance.

The bill proposes to extend the Special Authorities validity until the end of 2022 “to continue to enable legal infrastructure for imposing restrictions and maintaining public health.” It seeks to determine that COVID state of emergency declarations be extended from two to four months each.

The bill would add a clause authorizing the government to obligate presenting a negative coronavirus test, recovery certificate (“which includes a valid recovery or vaccination certificate”) as a condition for entering places that are open to the public, businesses, workplaces, and more. “This section is intended to anchor the authority to require a test or Green Pass,” “without detracting from the authority already given to establish these regulations.”

It is proposed to delete the list of ministers who are members of the Ministerial Committee to deal with the coronavirus crisis and its implications, and instead determine that the number of its members should not exceed half the number of members of the government.

It is likewise proposed to “add to the list of offenses for which an administrative fine of up to NIS 10,000 can be established in the regulations, also the offense of violating the obligation to prevent entry of a person who did not present a negative result in an up-to-date coronavirus test or of a person who did not present a recovery certificate.”

Several amendments are proposed to allow technological supervision of those required to isolate: First, it is proposed to determine that the period for extending the declaration of technologically supervised isolation be generally extended to periods not exceeding 60 days each (and not 28 days as currently prescribed), with the approval of the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee.

Second, it is proposed to determine that the consent of a minor over the age of 14 will be sufficient, and no consent from his parents will be required.

The proposed legislation would enhance authority of HMO heads and district doctors to close venues, and to add the possibility of issuing administrative closure orders.

Additionally, “the possibility of adding an amendment to legislation is being considered, in the framework of which the authority to determine the obligation to perform a coronavirus test will be determined, while a criminal offense will be determined for not performing the examination, to be enforced by imposing a fixed administrative fine.”

Attorney Oren Pasternak responded to the proposed legislation: “It establishes a dictatorial regime” and establishes “a government with near absolute powers to impose restrictions on all walks of life by December 2022.”

He continues: “The Knesset transfers its legislative powers to the government, and gives it almost full power to exercise parliamentary control. To date, they had declared ‘state of emergency’ periods of two months. In the new law, we are told that each ‘state of emergency’ will take place over a period of four months.

“Note that this law makes it possible to establish a mandatory coronavirus test. I repeat, these are forced tests!

“Under the new law, any refusal to perform a test will be considered a criminal offense that will trigger a fine. Now you have to understand that forced testing will de facto result in forced vaccines. Why? Because we’re going to tire people out by forcing them to get tested day after day after day, and again, and again, until they crack and end up getting vaccinated against their will.”

Pasternak and other activists urged citizens to register their objections to the proposed legislation on the Justice Ministry website (Hebrew) by scrolling down to “add your comments,” clicking “login,” selecting the Special Powers for Dealing with the New Coronavirus Law (Temporary Order) (Amendment) (Extension of Validity and Additional Provisions), 2021, and filling in the box that says: “Write your comments here” with: “I oppose the law!”

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