Erdan vows to oppose bill allowing police strip searches

Public Security Minister Erdan says he will opppose bill allowing police to bodily search detainees.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Israeli police officers in Jerusalem
Israeli police officers in Jerusalem
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan vowed to block a bill allowing police ot strip search detainees, including arestees suspected of minor crimes.

Erdan said on Thursday that he opposed the law as it would entrust the police with wide latitude to invade the privacy of Israeli citizens.

"This is an unusual and severe authorization that violates the rights and privacy of detainees," said Erdan. Such authority should only be authorized in very exceptional cases, and when this is necessary in order to prevent the smuggling of anything that endanger the security of policemen or anyone else."

"I will not allow such harm to the rights of detainees without the necessity being examined in the most fundamental manner"

Erdan, who oversees the police, spoke with the Knesset's Constitution Committee Chairman Nissan Slomiansky and asked him not to advance the section of the law dealing with strip searches.

The initiative came as part of a broad law dealing with powers to search for detainees, which began in 2014. According to Erdan, police wanted to fast track the portion of the law dealing with bodily searches without consulting him.

The proposed legislation is not expected to pass over lawmakers from both sides of the spectrum said that they would vote against it. “You are requesting an unlimited irresponsible degree of power, and saying simply, all we want is to strip search people," leftist MK Dov Khenin said during a heated debate in the Knesset on Wednesday.

Police and the Israel Prisoners Service say that they need the authority to strip-search prisoners in order to prevent them from smuggling drugs and weapons into prison.

"Currently we can do a search down to the underwear. We cannot remove anyone’s underwear and we find ourselves at risk. Detainees hid knives, narcotics, telephones in intimate places. ... It’s a matter of life or death," the Israel Police's Deputy Legel Advisor Aya Goretzky told the Knesset's Constitutional Committee on Wednesday.