Here is something worth putting energy into: this law passed its first vote; how many more before it is set in stone? With this law, I would not have been able to stand in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with my sign. PROTEST WIDELY, LOUDLY!
Law to Limit Small Rallies
(IsraelNN.com) A law that would limit the ability to protest in small groups has passed a first vote in the Knesset. The law would require would-be protesters to gain police permission to hold a rally, even if fewer than 50 people attend.
Currently, rallies of under 50 people may be spontaneous, while only larger gatherings require police approval.
The law passed with 19 voting in favor and six against. Some of those who did not vote said they skipped it in protest after seeing that the law was expected to pass.
Those who expressed support for the law said it would prevent activists from harassing public figures and their families, as small demonstrations outside private homes will be required to have permits.
"There is a right to demonstrate, but a person also has the right to privacy in his home," the law stated. "This is also an important legal right... A person has the right to be left alone in his private dwelling."
Protests directed at specific individuals are becoming increasingly frequent, the proposed law stated. Such protests, it said, "are often intended to harass those people and their families and to impinge on their privacy."
MK Yariv Levin of Likud strongly opposed the law, which he said is blatantly anti-democratic. Levin said the law was created by the previous, Kadima-led government, and was then picked up by the current government.
"This proposal was written in a spirit that shouldn't be seen here," Levin said. "This is a proposal in the spirit of Ariel Sharon – the spirit of shutting opponents' mouths – and it does not suit the current government. This is a law that would forbid a person to stand with a sign, and that is not democratic."
While the law would apply to all Israelis, it appears aimed at the political right, Levin added. "This law has an unofficial title: 'Be quiet, we're expelling people,'" he said.
Recent demonstrations against private individuals have been organized primarily by the political right against IDF officials responsible for destroying Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.
Levin and fellow Likud MK Tzipi Hotobeli skipped the vote in protest. Members of Ichud Leumi (National Union) objected as well.
The Likud and Ichud Leumi MKs received support from the opposite end of the political spectrum. MK Dov Hanin, the sole Jewish representative in the primarily Arab Hadash communist party, said the proposal would restrict important freedoms. "The Knesset should send a clear message to the government, 'We don't want to see these kinds of laws in this hall,'" he said.