Netanyahu and Gantz clarify draft of coronavirus legislation. JPOST
Police will not be able to break into private homes, and children won’t be microchipped, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear on Monday during his Likud faction meeting. “It is important to dispel some of the
Crucial final words in this statement. You, PM, scared us with your original statement about doing just that (and it was not fake news)!
“We will find the right balance between the need to enforce isolation guidelines and the need to protect the rights of individuals and the civil liberties of Israeli citizens,” he continued. “We are aware that in the public there is a thought that we will unravel this balance. We have not done so until now, and we will not do so in the future.”
Like ALL the other promises the PM makes . . .
Mainstream and social media erupted late Sunday after the government released a memorandum of the Coronavirus Bill that, if passed, would turn into law a set of emergency coronavirus regulations. The draft appeared to be infringing on individual rights, including allowing police forces unlimited authority and prohibiting demonstrations.
The legislation is meant to grant the government special powers to deal with a predicted emergency second wave of the coronavirus for 45 days, with the Knesset able to extend the emergency period every 30 days for up to 10 months.
“This memorandum proposed to authorize the government, in primary legislation, to enact regulations for active restrictions on the population in the private and public spheres in a variety of areas in life, in accordance with the areas currently regulated by the Emergency Regulations,” a synopsis of the memorandum reads on the government’s website.
The draft appeared to grant powers to the government to decide upon new emergency measures without Knesset approval.
The bill will be brought to its first votes next week. It is expected to be challenged in the Supreme Court.
Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz told his Blue and White faction on Sunday that the Justice Ministry was working on redefining the government’s emergency measures for the fight against the coronavirus.
“We will make sure that the directives will not be draconian,” Gantz said. “Police will not conduct intrusive searches. The right to protest will not be harmed, nor will the courts, and there will be proper parliamentary oversight.”
He said the directives would be set for a limited period of time. New legislation would be drafted that will have to meet criteria to ensure that the right to privacy will be maintained.
“There will be a significant improvement in the rules and directives from what was in place before,” he said. “I heard that the public is worried that we will be going to dark places. We will not let individual rights be harmed.” In a statement he released earlier, Gantz said “Israeli democracy is stronger that the coronavirus, and it will stay that way.”
Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, a member of Gantz’s Blue and White Party, sent a similar message on Twitter Sunday, confirming that, "In the coming days, we will continue our hard work to ensure that the legislation is effective but proportionate.”
Netanyahu told Likud that “we have an integrated mission – to restore discipline to stop the geometrical spread of the disease and to open the economy and add jobs. We will find the right balance between the need to enforce isolation guidelines and the need to maintain individual austerity.”
But he did stress the need to enforce regulations: “The virus doesn't spread on its own,” the prime minister said. “It is carried by humans and transmitted from person to person by sneezing or coughing or contact. As the distance decreases and contact increases, the virus grows and spreads.”
Finally, he also used the platform to “dispel an urban legend that we intend to plant censors in children.”
AS REPORTED IN BREAKING NEWS:In early May, the Hebrew website Ynet reported that the prime minister proposed microchipping children who return to schools as the coronavirus lockdown was lifted. (cannot find the Ynet article)
The Prime Minister also said that he is looking into “technologies that haven’t been activated yet.” He continued saying “Technologies that will be legal that we operate. It means perhaps, new methods that we’re working on. I spoke with our head of technology to search for various technologies that Israel excels at.”
Netanyahu used sensor alarms as an example. “For examples sensors. There would be a sensor that warns children, all people but starting with children, like a vehicle whereby if you get to close to it, it makes noise. A buzzer if you will. I don’t know if it’s possible but they’re looking into it. They’re trying it.”
Rabbi Daniel Asor of Jerusalem’s Yanar Institute responded to the statement saying: “Netanyahu has crossed a red line. He will install a sensor into every person in Israel and will start with children in schools and kindergartens.” breaking news
MEANWHILE THE JERUSALEM POST ARTICLE:
"Cyber experts slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his proposal to "microchip" children who return to schools and kindergartens as the coronavirus lockdown is lifted, Ynet reported on Friday. While speaking at a press conference on Monday, Netanyahu suggested the Health Ministry use new technology to help Israel adjust to its new routine as the state is lifting the coronavirus lockdown. "That is, technology that has not been used before and is allowed under the legislation we shall enact," he clarified.
"I spoke with our heads of technology in order to find measures Israel is good at, such as sensors. For instance, every person, every kid – I want it on kids first – would have a sensor that would sound an alarm when you get too close, like the ones on cars," the prime minister said. "It will be hard to do it to more than a million schoolchildren who return to their educational institutions in order to ensure one student sits at the distance of two meters from another. It is fictional and dangerous," cyber resilience expert Einat Meron told Ynet.
"Theoretically, I get the idea behind it," she said. "But although such distance-sensitive microchips exist in vehicles, it is different in humans." According to Meron, "a beeping sound telling me I got close to someone is not enough. Who says it will change anything? I would have gotten closer either way.” The expert added that "the actual issue is the enforcement, and here everything changes." Meron told Ynet that "microchipping children will not pass any test – both practically and legally." Similar to Meron's notion that notifying citizens on their distance will not affect their actions, many fear the state would make use of the information available from the sensors.
"If the information with the kids' location is uploaded to the internet, a pedophile with some cyber knowledge may invade the system and stalk them outside their schools, follow them and distribute the information on other platforms," Meron said. "Can the state take responsibility for that?” The Prime Minister's Office responded to the report, telling Ynet Netanyahu's suggestion "is not to be implemented through databases, but through simple technology notifying [the citizens] about their distance. It is a voluntary option that is designed to help children keep their distance, like Mobileye with vehicles.” The office added that the prime minister's suggestion is "an idea that may help maintain social distancing, and there will not be any violation of privacy."
While speaking at a press conference, Netanyahu suggested that the Health Ministry use new technology to help Israel adjust to its new routine as the state lifted the coronavirus lockdown, including potentially sensors.
"For instance, every person, every kid – I want it on kids first – would have a sensor that would sound an alarm when you get too close, like the ones on cars," the prime minister said at the press conference. However, on Monday, he clarified: “Conspiracy theories sometimes reach delusional places. We talked about a toy for kids, a voluntary bracelet that anyone could choose to wear.”
This was NOT FAKE NEWS
In his faction meeting, MK Naftali Bennett told his Yamina faction that the Health Ministry was making mistakes by not using more advanced tests for the virus. He warned against taking more steps to prevent a second wave of the virus that could harm the economy.
"Another lockdown would be a death knell for businesses that are just starting to raise their heads," Bennett said. "We should not be harming the income of the private sector again."