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Israel advances controversial legislation to battle crime in Arab society

Despite surging violence within the Israeli-Arab population, elements within the coalition and in the opposition object a proposed law amendment that would allow police to carry out house searches without a prior court warrant.
Gideon Saar, leader of the New Hope party, addresses supporters at his party's campaign headquarters after the end of voting in the fourth national election in two years, Tel Aviv, Israel, March 24, 2021.

Israel’s Cabinet approved Oct. 17 a bill to expand the power of Israeli police, as part of its efforts to stop the worsening epidemic of crime in the Arab sector. The approved law amendment would allow police to carry out house searches without a prior court warrant, when there is reasonable cause to believe that an object tied to a serious crime could be found on private premises.

Included in the crimes for which such a search could be conducted are extortion and crimes involving weapons. According to the amendment, warrantless searches would be allowed when such a search is deemed immediately necessary to prevent the object under question from disappearing or being destroyed. The law would remain in place for three years.

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