Knesset Committee Recommends Extending State of Emergency

YERUSHALAYIM -

A joint Knesset committee recommended on Tuesday that the existing state of emergency be extended to allow the government full latitude in dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

A combined panel of the Foreign Relations, the Defense and the Constitutional, Law, and Courts committees, voted for the Knesset plenum to decide as early as Wednesday to extend the state of emergency until June 3, 2021.

The proposed legislation has drawn opposition due to concerns over measures susceptible to abuse, such as allowing police to enter homes without a warrant, refusing inmates’ requests to meet their lawyers and allowing Shin Bet surveillance of coronavirus carriers.

Attorney Eyal Zandberg from the Justice Ministry said at the committee session on Tuesday: “We are working clearly and unequivocally so that all of the powers which the government ministries expect they will need to deal with the plague will be drafted in legislation and brought before the Knesset. In every area there will be a law with a framework and a mechanism. There will be an infrastructure for exercising the powers, without the possibility of it coming into existence with just the declaration.”

Committee chairman Tzvi Hauser (Derekh Eretz), said, “Unlike the first wave of the coronavirus, which was a surprise, and when the Knesset was inactive, the second wave scenario has no surprise and an active introduction. We have written before us the clarification of the legal advice to the government that they are preparing for a second wave of the coronavirus and will take all steps to try and avoid widespread use of the emergency regulations.”