Israel’s Knesset and Legislative Process
The main function of the Knesset as Israel’s legislative authority is to create law. Legislation can be initiated by a) the Government (“Government bill”); b) one or more Members of Knesset, (“private member’s bill”); or c) a Knesset committee. To become law, a bill must pass numerous readings, each of which is adopted or rejected by a vote of the Knesset members present in the plenum. Between each reading, the bill is discussed and modified by relevant Knesset committees. After passing the third reading, the bill is published in the Official Gazette and becomes a law of the State of Israel.
The majority required to pass a bill varies according to the nature of the proposed legislation. If the government supports the bill proposed by ATZUM’s Task Force on Human Trafficking (TFHT), a simple majority of MKs (Members of Knesset) present and voting will suffice. If the government does not sponsor the TFHT proposed bill, then the support of at least 50 MKs will be required.
Key Committees: Leadership and Function
Ministerial Committee on Legislation – Chaired by Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi). This committee is responsible for reviewing suggested legislation and deciding whether the government will support the bill. Additionally, relevant government officials are invited to participate in the discussion. The Ministerial Committee on Legislation is made up of 14 ministers, all members of the Government. Therefore, if proposed legislation receives the support of the committee, it has effectively received the support of the Government, making it likely the bill will be approved by subsequent readings and passed into law.
Subcommittee on Trafficking in Women and Prostitution – Chaired by MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) This subcommittee is responsible for addressing sex trafficking, procuring, child and adult prostitution in Israel; ensuring existing legislation regarding prostitution and trafficking is enforced; and reducing the number of prostituted persons through educational initiatives. The subcommittee was formed by the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality at the urging of ATZUM’s Task Force on Human Trafficking and other NGOs.
Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality – Chaired by MK Aaida Tuma – Sliman (The Joint List) This committee is responsible for advancing the status of women and promoting economic, educational, and representational equality between the genders; reducing gender-based violence; and preventing sexual and gender-based discrimination. This committee is the umbrella committee for the Subcommittee on Trafficking in Women and Prostitution.
Click here to read a brief Primer on Prostitution in Israel (October 2016)
Click here to read Israel’s Knesset and Legislative Process (December 2014)