Knesset passes bill to jail Israelis who employ Palestinians illegally

The Knesset approves for second and third reading an amendment that will significantly increase fines and prison sentences for those who transport, accommodate or employ illegal Palestinian laborers.

The bill, advanced by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, comes after several fatal terror attacks carried out by Palestinians who were residing in Israel illegally. The bill is passed by a vote of 44-16.

“For the first time, the responsibility will be put on the employers who risk public security,” Erdan tells the plenary.

Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan attends a meeting of the Knesset Internal Affairs committee, February 9, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan attends a meeting of the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee, February 9, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)


The amendment provides for penalties ranging from up to two years’ imprisonment and/or fines ranging from NIS 5,000 to NIS 75,000 ($1,290-$19,340) for individuals employing or providing accommodation to an illegal resident just once, with fines of up to NIS 226,000 ($58,265) and/or prison terms of up to four years for those doing so for more than two consecutive days.

It also widens the definition of “employer” to include any person or body that employs or facilitates the stay of illegal residents indirectly, such as contracting companies employing subsidiary companies which in turn, employ illegal laborers.

Corporations that subcontract labor will have to set up their own supervisory mechanisms to ensure that all workers have the correct papers. Those caught subcontracting illegal workers on an ongoing basis will face fines of up to NIS 452,000 ($116,530).

For the first time, police will be able to close — for 30 days — building sites, restaurants and any other businesses found to be employing illegal residents, and the courts will be able to extend such closures.

The courts will also be given the powers to cancel a corporation’s business license and building permits.

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