Law gives special powers to Israeli government for coronavirus

Law gives special powers to Israeli government for coronavirus

© Jack GUEZ
Protesters protest against the Israeli government and the Prime Minister for broken promises during the new coronavirus pandemic in Tel Aviv, July 18, 2020

The Israeli Parliament passed on Wednesday a law that gives the government special powers to fight the pandemic of the new coronavirus and creates irritation in the opposition.

The so-called “great coronavirus law” authorizes the government to “enact a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, enact regulations and enforce restrictions on public and private space”. All of this if the Executive is “convinced that there is a real risk of spreading the new coronavirus that will cause significant damage to public health”.

A total of 48 deputies voted in favor and 35 voted against in the third and final instance of voting.

According to Israeli media, the legislation limits parliamentary control over the decisions of the government coalition headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, removing the powers of the legislative commission in charge of issues related to the fight against the new coronavirus.

The latter overturned a government decree on Tuesday that ordered the closure of restaurants to contain the epidemic.

After lengthy debates in the commission, the text voted at first instance, on June 15, was revised and allows Parliament to invalidate within 24 hours the restrictive measures adopted by the government before they were applied, and not afterwards, as originally planned.

“In democratic countries, you don’t vote on draconian and dangerous laws like this,” said Nitsan Horowicz, leader of the left opposition party Meretz.

According to Horowicz, the Knesset (Parliament) agrees to grant its powers to the government, which has acted without judgment or logic since the beginning of the pandemic. “It is a shame,” he added.

Discontent has increased in recent weeks in Israel, with demonstrations against corruption and the management of the pandemic and its consequences.

Under the law, the government may also set conditions for organizing the demonstrations, but not prevent them.

alv / bds / erl / gm / mvv


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