New regulations end discrimination against 'settlers'

Businesses not providing service in Judea and Samaria must place clear signs or risk criminal charge carrying NIS 10,000 fine.

Mordechai Sones ,

Shuli Muallem
Shuli Muallem
Flash 90

The Economics Committee today approved regulations stipulating how the declaration of conditions of service should be made by a business owner who does not provide services to clients living in Judea and Samaria.

The regulations were formulated by the Economy Ministry at the request of Jewish Home faction Chair MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli, to implement the law prohibiting discrimination on grounds of residence.

This law, passed in its second- and third-readings a year ago, states that businesses must be transparent about service policy. If a business does not provide transportation or service to destinations beyond the Green Line or charges extra for going there, it must inform the consumer at the time of purchase.

The regulations formulated by the Economy Ministry determine how the disclosure should be made to the consumer, whether the transaction was made in a store or carried out on the Internet.

The regulations stipulate that conspicuous signs must be placed in shops and near each checkout counter. The size of the sign is to be not be less than the size of an A4 page and written in a large, legible font. In online transactions, the seller must present the service policy in a conspicuous place with clear and legible letters and numbers. In telephone transactions, the information must be provided while talking to the customer.

The regulations and the law were formulated in light of circumstances well-known to consumers living in Judea and Samaria. After purchasing a product, it often turns out that the business owner does not provide delivery or service to the region, or that they are subject to restrictions such as additional payment, while the customer finds out about this only after making the purchase. The law and regulations also apply to customers who live in outlying communities and who face the same situation.

"Now it's final," declared MK Muallem. "A business owner who doesn't want to risk a lawsuit must be aboveboard with the customer. A business owner who doesn't want to be put on consumer's blacklists in Judea and Samaria shouldn't discriminate. When a customer purchases a product in a business or from a large chain he expects to be provided service.

"It's the business owner's right to decide what the service policy is and to whom he sells, but he must be aboveboard and tell the customer clearly at the time of purchase. Accordingly, Judea and Samaria residents will know in advance whicht business or chain discriminates against them and they'll know where not to buy," she concluded.