Camel Law passes Knesset Finance Committee

Requires identification and registration of camels by subcutaneous microchip, establishes criminal responsibility for camel owners.

Mordechai Sones,

Flash 90

The Knesset Finance Committee today approved the Camel Law in second and third reading in the Knesset, and approved regulations requiring identification of livestock that will require camels to be fitted with a subcutaneous microchip.

The law, which is scheduled for its final Knesset plenum hearing ("second and third reading") next week, was drafted jointly by the Regavim movement to protect Israel's recourses and Jewish Home MK Betzalel Smotrich, a resident of the Negev community Retamim, and other MKs.

Under the new legislation, camel owners will bear criminal responsibility for accidents and damages caused by their animals. Camels will be required to have a subcutaneous digital microchip recording the owner's details – similar to microchips with which dogs and other pets are currently registered. Additionally, the new Camel Law will require owners to officially register sale or transfer of ownership of all camels in an Agriculture Ministry database.

Regavim Policy and Parliamentary Affairs Director Meir Deutsch explains the law began to take shape almost three years ago, after the death of David Cohen of Retamim in a collision with a camel near the entrance to his home town.

"Since the legislative process began, three more people lost their lives in tragic - but avoidable - camel accidents," said Deutsch. "After the most recent accident, in which 13-year old Liel Almakias was killed, Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Eitan Cabel took up the cause and expedited the legislation's progress. We hope these new regulations will reduce the problem of wandering camels, and help save lives."

MK Smotrich said: "We approved an important piece of legislation today, after intensive efforts. Negev residents deserve to be protected by the State, and those who should be held responsible will be forced to take responsibility. With G-d's help, the danger to life and limb and the fatal collisions caused by wandering camels will soon be a thing of the past. Today we took an important step towards this goal – better late than never."