Today (Sunday), the Knesset plenum approved in its second and third readings the proposed law by Knesset members Yulia Malinovski (Israel Beiteinu) and Limor Son Har Melech (Otzma Yehudit) to toughen the punishment for sexual offenses with a nationalist motive. 39 Knesset members voted in favor, and 7 opposed.
According to the proposed law, the punishment for sexual offenses with a nationalist motive will be doubled, and the payment to be made by the offender will also be increased. The proposal also stipulates that the Minister of Justice will report in writing to the Knesset's National Security Committee once a year on the number of indictments filed in cases of sexual offenses or sexual harassment motivated by racism or hostility towards a community. Additionally, the Minister of National Security will report to the committee once a year on how many investigations have been opened regarding these offenses.
An increase in the number of harassments on a national basis
In the explanation of the law, it is written that "in recent years, incidents of sexual offenses with a nationalist motive have intensified. Every day, there are reports of women who have been sexually harassed due to their national identity. The escalation of this phenomenon has reached a point where in various regions throughout the country, in the north, south, and even in the city of Tel Aviv, women are afraid to engage in sports activities or go out alone during the evening hours."
One of the proposers of the law, Member of Knesset Limor Son Har Melech, responded to the approval in the plenum: "Sexual terror, even if denied, is an existing and horrifying phenomenon. A person with lowliness and abomination leaves his home with one purpose: to sexually assault a woman due to her nationality. For example, in the past year, I have heard dozens of testimonies from women who travel daily on buses in the Samaria region. The sexual harassment they experience due to their nationalist background requires a renewed approach to the law."
She further added: "Terrorism, as I know from first-hand sources, leaves the victim with emotional scars that never heal. Sexual harassment also leaves the victims with emotional scars that never heal. The combination of sexual harassment done on a nationalist basis results in double emotional scars for the victims. Both the scar of the terror victim and the scar of the sexual harassment victim. Therefore, there is no reason why the punishment should not be doubled."