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Vote on controversial 'Special Powers' law delayed for now amid opposition, protests

Lawyer tells ALL ISRAEL NEWS that the law would make compulsory vaccination legal in Israel

Israelis protesting the proposed ‘Special Powers’ COVID law outside the Knesset building in Jerusalem, Nov. 22, 2021 (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

JERUSALEM—Knesset members postponed a vote on the controversial ‘Special Powers’ COVID law that aims to anchor the Green Passport into law and gives the coalition authority to make decisions without Knesset oversight until the end of December 2022.

For now, the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee was expected to instead extend by two months the current state of emergency that allows the government to implement COVID restrictions while members addressed portions of the bill that needed to be fixed, attorney Irit Yankovitch told ALL ISRAEL NEWS.

Yankovitch further told ALL ISRAEL NEWS that the legislation calls for legalizing mandatory vaccination and would ensconce the Green Passport into law, whereas now it is merely a temporary regulation.

The legislation drew an enormous number of public responses – most of them in opposition – on the Knesset website when it was first put forward. Opponents of the legislation protested outside the Knesset on Monday saying this type of legislation can lead to a dictatorship and has already created a two-tiered society that prevents the unvaccinated from entering certain establishments.

The “Special Powers for Dealing with the Novel Coronavirus Bill” would make it worse, they say.

The law, if passed, would give authority to businesses to ban entry to anyone who is not vaccinated, expand surveillance on people in quarantine, make it a crime to refuse to undergo a PCR test and set the age of consent at 14 for surveillance.

But it has been pushed off for reconsideration. For now.

“In light of the pressure that 'We the People' put on this despicable totalitarian bill it has been pushed off for another two months in lieu of maintaining the Special Powers 1.0 already in place – during which time the bill will be amended," said Ilana Rachel Daniel, who records "The Jerusalem Report" and was at the Knesset protest on Monday. “This does not mean we can go back to sleep. We can pat our collective backs at a job well done tonight, and continue to increase the pressure until this bill is off the table and out the door forever more.”

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On his way into the committee meeting on Monday, Knesset Member Gadi Yevarkan of the Likud party told ALL ISRAEL NEWS that it is time to revisit the Green Passport and other regulations that were set in place since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

“We are no longer in the same situation that we were in at the beginning of the pandemic,” he said.

He also contended that the Green Passport, which was intended to protect public health, is now doing more harm than good.

“People are getting fired, they cannot enter their workplaces, even in the schools – even kindergarten teachers, teacher aides – there is a huge gap. And the government’s solution is to reassign IDF soldiers to fill these positions.”

“It’s high time to revisit this,” Yevarkan said. “Human rights are no less important than a conversation about corona – our current position is unsustainable.”

Throughout the pandemic, the Knesset has extended the state of emergency for COVID issues for two months at a time. The Special Powers law would set the state of emergency four months at a time, plus extend all the rules mentioned therein until the end of 2022.

Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS

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