Coronavirus test swab
Coronavirus test swabiStock

A new draft bill seeks to extend by over a year the Israeli government’s ability to impose COVID emergency regulations.

The bill, which is open for public comment until Wednesday at midnight, proposes extending the validity of the “Law on Special Authority for dealing with Coronavirus," which is set to expire on November 30, until the end of December 2022.

The bill also proposes expanding the powers of the government in a number of ways, including: Extending the period until which a state of emergency can be declared from 2 months to 4 months, increasing fines to 10,000 shekels for violating Green Pass rules, imposing administrative closure on businesses that don’t impose Green Pass rules, and allowing the transfer of medical information about one’s vaccination status to school administrators.

In addition, the bill considers “establishing the authority to impose mandatory corona tests on a person, where not carrying out the test would constitute a criminal offense that would be enforced via imposition of an administrative fine.”

The bill cites as its concerns “not having reached a level of vaccination in the population allowing for ‘herd immunity,’” “the continued drop in the level of protection from morbidity among the vaccinated and recovered,” “the continuation of a worldwide pandemic,” and “the danger of the entry of additional variants against which the vaccine is less efficient.”

Speaking to journalist Guy Meroz, attorney Oren Pasternak said the bill was “dangerous” because it “transfers authority from the legislative branch to the executive branch” in everything to do with COVID-19.

“It concentrates all the power in one place, which contradicts the principle of separation of powers on which democracy is based.”

He said that since it was now clear that the virus is not going anywhere and we must “live alongside it,” “we cannot continue to entrench the dictatorial method in Israel forever.”

“With this law, we are extending this method until December 2022,” while also “making the law even more severe,” he added.