02 Dec, 2020

In exchange for a commitment to rescind the “Kaminetz Law,” the Joint Arab List will recommend to the President that Benny Gantz to form the new government. The Regavim Movement warns of dire consequences.

According to a report on Channel 13’s Saturday night newscast, The Blue and White Party gave a commitment to the Joint Arab List that it would rescind the “Kaminetz Law” in return for the Arab MKs’ recommendation to the President to task Beni Gantz with forming the new government.

The Kaminetz Law, passed by the Knesset in 2017, is an amendment to Israel’s Planning and Building Code that was the result of comprehensive research, fieldwork and analysis by a special task force headed by Assistant Attorney General (Civil Affairs) Erez Kaminetz.

The phenomenon of illegal construction on public and private land has been a national scourge for decades: Each year, thousands more illegal structures pop up throughout the country, rendering modern, efficient and environmentally sound planning and development to address Israel’s nationwide housing crisis nearly impossible.

Asst. AG Kaminetz formulated a package of legislative amendments to significantly improve the authorities’ ability to grapple with the problem, creating more efficient and effective tools for enforcement of the Building and Planning Code. This package of improvements, officially titled Amendment 116, was ratified by the 20th Knesset.

The package included stiffer sanctions against building infractions, and gave building inspectors greater authority and more efficient enforcement tools, including the ability to issue administrative work-stop and demolition orders without the need for complex and lengthy criminal prosecution. In addition, Amendment 116 required the authorities to restructure the system of demolition priorities, to institute more effective mapping of illegal construction, and more.

The Regavim Movement, which is at the forefront of advocacy for national land-use policy, warns that acquiescing to the Joint Arab List’s demand to rescind the Kaminetz Law will give the green light to a frenzy of illegal construction in the Arab sector.

“The Kaminetz law is one of the most important achievements of the outgoing Knesset. Since its implementation, the number of illegal construction starts in the Galilee has been slashed by 50%,” says Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim.

“Rescinding Amendment 116, which is still in its initial implementation stages, will almost entirely neutralize the State of Israel’s ability to enforce its Building and Planning Code,” adds Deutsch. “Cancellation of the Kaminetz amendments will empower and embolden construction offenders, neutralize the authorities’ ability to take effective action against illegal construction, further complicate future planning and proper utilization of Israel’s land resources, and worst of all, will cause irreparable harm to the national attitude toward the rule of law.”