MK Ofer Shelah
MK Ofer ShelahFlash 90

A major change to Israel's lawbooks was set in motion Sunday, as the Ministerial Law Committee approved a law that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual preference. The law, if passed by the Knesset, would require all laws against discrimination to include an interpretation that discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual preference are banned as well.

Israel has wide-ranging anti-discrimination laws, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age and ethnicity. Such discrimination is prohibited for a wide range of situations, such as employment, renting or selling a home, medical care, education, and so on. If the law is passed, discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual preference will be prohibited in all those circumstances as well.

The law was voted down by the Committee last week after MK Uri Orbach demanded that it be amended to include a prohibition against discrimination on the basis of residence. Many residents of Judea and Samaria have reported being turned down for jobs or being denied services because of where they live.

MK Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid), who sponsored the bill, refused to countenance the change, and demanded a revote, which on Sunday resulted in approval of the law for a Knesset vote.

According to Shelah, the law is “a correction that is necessary in order to prevent clear cases of discrimination. This law has been missing in our legal system, and adding it will ensure that our legal system is fair and just to all,” he said.

Once a bill is approved by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, its chances of passing in the Knesset are considered excellent, since it enjoys the backing of the majority Coalition.