Israel may end 51-year-old state of emergency

JERUSALEM, Nov. 21 (JTA) — Israel may soon cancel the state of emergency that has been in effect since the state’s founding.

“Today the government approved the request to extend” the order “by only six months, a move it has never asked the Knesset to do. It generally asks that the order be extended by a year,” Justice Minister Yossi Beilin told Israel Radio on Sunday.

“The significance is that in another half year, we will inform the Knesset we do not intend to extend the order — and there will be no more state of emergency in Israel,” he added after the Cabinet discussed the order during its weekly meeting.

Beilin has previously described the nation’s legal state of emergency as a “preposterous” situation.

Other critics have said the emergency order gives the government far-reaching powers and enables the passage of legislation that violates civil rights.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the order is that it allows for administrative detentions, under which individuals suspected of terrorism or subversion can be jailed without formal charges being brought against them.

Under the order, the government can also prevent essential public sector workers from striking.

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