Gila Gamliel
Gila Gamliel Photo: Flash 90

The bill for combating "financial violence" initiated by Meretz leader Zehava Galon has been adopted by Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel.

The bill would categorize "financial violence" as something carrying legal liability.

If the law passes, then "financial violence" will be added to the list of violations for which one can sue for damages. Galon's bill stipulates that courts would be able to order up to 120,000 NIS in compensation without requiring proof of actual damage.

The bill was first proposed in the Knesset last year be a group of MKs including Galon, Shelly Yachimovitch, Tamar Zandberg, and Merav Michaeli, among others.

The explanatory section of the bill states that "many men use money, and especially withholding it from their wife or mother, as a tool for controlling and limiting her." The law aims to prevent this, and is also meant to technically apply equally to both men and women.

The proposed law defines financial violence as "continuous conduct by a family member or spouse which includes coercion, misleading, or exaggerated control of a spouse or family member," which manifests as:

1. The perpetrator restricting access to financial resources that the victim or his/her children require for reasonable life expenses in according with their circumstances, or threatening restriction of access, when the victim is entirely or almost entirely financially dependent on the offending spouse or family member.

2. Intentionally preventing the victim from achieving financial independence, by preventing them from working, denying them a say in important financial decisions involving joint assets, or preventing them from gaining control of financial resources.

3. Intentional withholding of child support payments or other necessary expenses, even though the offender has the ability to pay.

The proposed law would apply not only to spouses who withhold money from each other, but also to "a parent or parent's spouse, a spouse's parent or their partner, a grandfather or grandmother, a descendant or spouses descendant, a brother or sister, a brother-in-law or sister-in-law, an uncle or aunt, nephew or niece."

In addition, the law stipulates that the moment a suit has been filed for financial violence, the plaintiff is guaranteed a certain level of income regardless of the defendant's financial situation. This means that a spouse from a low-income household, who doesn't work, can sue his/her spouse for "financial violence" and have a guaranteed income as long as the suit is still being litigated.