A bill expanding the rules by which police can stop and search potential suspects was approved by Israeli ministers Sunday.
The cabinet voted unanimously in favor of amending the current law to allow officers to carry out bodily searches even without reasonable suspicion that the object of their search is carrying a weapon.
The new amendment, titled “Police officers’ frisking authority,” will allow police officers to search any individual’s body, clothes and bags even if there is no reason to suspect the person is carrying a weapon and/or intending to use it.
Currently, the law only allows frisking if police have sufficient reason to suspect the person is concealing a weapon.
The amendment was originally proposed five years ago but was not passed into law by the Knesset.
It will now need to pass three readings in the parliament before coming into effect.
The bill was proposed by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan as part of a series of measures aiming to prevent further Palestinian attacks in the current wave of unrest.
Erdan said that the amendment would help police prevent attacks.
“Due to the latest terror attacks, an urgent necessity arose to give police authority to conduct bodily searches in order to better confront the knifing terrorism. This is another step I am promoting in a series of decision needed to strengthen the police force and its authority so that people feel safer on the streets,” he said.
A Public Security Ministry spokesman said that the measure went into effect immediately upon the cabinet decision.
In other efforts to prevent attacks, the security cabinet of high-level ministers approved last week the deployment of hundreds of IDF troops in Jerusalem as well as a partial lockdown on several Arab neighborhoods.
Other courses of action passed included the demolition of terrorists’ homes within days of attacks and the banning of new construction, the confiscation of property belonging to terrorists who carry out attacks, and the revoking of permanent residency rights from their families.
Restrictions on gun licenses for Israelis have been eased to allow all IDF officers above the rank of lieutenant and non-commissioned officers from the rank of first sergeant and up to obtain a permit. Parallel ranks in the police and other security services may do the same.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.