'Camel Law' passes first reading in Knesset

Law to combat accidents caused by free-roaming Bedouin-owned camels passes 1st reading. 'The sooner it passes the more lives will be saved.'

Mordechai Sones,

Flash 90

Two years ago, the Regavim movement for protecting Israel's resources and sovereignty uncovered Israeli police data showing that every year police respond to 1,000 complaints of camels roaming roads in the south (a total of 7151 cases from January 2008 until June 2015).

Regavim publicized the issue, petitioned to have law enforcement intervene, and wrote letters and drafted legislation to kept the issue alive in the media and the Knesset. Yesterday their efforts paid off: The "Camel Law" passed the first legislative hurdle towards enactment.

For nearly two years, Regavim, together with MK Bezalel Smotrich, has been working on formulating a law to regulate oversight of animals in the public domain and to end the lawlessness and chaos of wandering camels on the Negev's roads - a phenomenon that has caused numerous traffic accidents, many of them fatal.

If the new law is enacted, camel owners will be held criminally responsible for accidents and damages caused by their animals. The law will require all camels to be tagged with digital subcutaneous identification chips that record the owner's details, as dogs are licensed in Israel. The law will require owners who sell their camels to officially transfer ownership, in a process regulated and monitored through an Agriculture Ministry database, as car ownership and dog ownership are monitored and regulated by the relevant ministries.

"We look forward to the passage of this crucial legislation through the upcoming procedural hurdles, the second and third readings in committee," said a Regavim Spokesman. "The sooner the legislative process is completed, the sooner lives will be saved.

"Regavim will continue to monitor the Camel Law's ratification, enactment, and enforcement."

Camel selfie on Mount of Olives
Flash 90