The Knesset approved on Tuesday the first reading of the law which has been dubbed “the Anat Kam law.”
The bill, which was authored by MKs Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and Tzion Pinian (Likud) and is named for the former reporter who is serving time for stealing classified documents and leaking them to a Haaretz reporter, widens the definition of espionage.
It adds a new offense to the criminal code: holding secret documents and passing them on to an unauthorized person without permission – without intent to cause harm to the state. The maximum punishment for this offense would be 10 years in jail.
The current law does not provide a separate definition for espionage of this type that is carried out without intent to harm the state. Passing on classified documents to unauthorized people carries a 15 year maximum sentence.
12 Knesset members supported the bill, which passed unopposed. The bill will now be returned to the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, which will prepare it for its second and third readings.
Kam was convicted of high espionage and handing over of classified information and began serving her 4.5 year prison sentence in November.
Her light sentence has caused nationalist politicians to call to increase the penalties for betraying Israel’s secrets.