Itongadol.- lice got the formal green light to stop and frisk citizens, even without “reasonable suspicion,” after the Knesset passed a controversial bill into law on Tuesday.
Opposition MKs and civil rights activists have warned that the legislation will increase police discrimination against minority groups.
Until now, the law only allowed frisking if police had sufficient reason to suspect the person was concealing a weapon and even then, according to a court definition, only if they saw a bulge in the target’s clothing which suggested a knife or a gun, said MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home), chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.
Now, police officers will have the right to search any individual’s body, clothes and bags even if there is no reason to suspect the person is carrying a weapon.
Police will be able to frisk passersby if they have “a reasonable suspicion” they are “about to carry out an act of violence against another.” A “reasonable suspicion” is defined as a person in a public place “acting in a bullying manner, including verbal violence, or threats, or acting in another intimidating or frightening manner.”
A temporary provision, valid for a year, allows police to frisk even without reasonable suspicion, on the basis of “fear” that the person intends to carry out a terror attack.
The new law waters down some provisions of the original version of the bill presented at first reading, reducing the slew of businesses police are allowed to enter to carry out body searches. “Reasonable suspicion” will allow the cops to enter nightclubs, but only after they have informed their district commander in advance, the Haaretz daily reported.