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May 23, 2018 10:23 am

New Camel Law Passes Knesset Finance Committee

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Camels in Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The Knesset Finance Committee approved the Camel Law on Tuesday, initiated by Regavim and Knesset member Bezalel Smotrich, for its second and third readings in the Knesset plenum. Regulations requiring identification and registration of camels by subcutaneous microchip were approved, as well as criminal responsibility for camel owners.

The law, which is scheduled for its final Knesset plenum hearing (“second and third reading”) next week, was drafted jointly by Regavim, Smotrich (a resident of the Negev community Retamim) and other Knesset members.

Under the new legislation, camel owners will bear criminal responsibility for accidents and damages caused by their animals. Camels will be required to have a subcutaneous digital microchip recording the owner’s details—similar to the microchips with which dogs and other pets are currently registered. Additionally, the new Camel Law will require owners to officially register the sale or transfer of ownership of all camels in a Ministry of Agriculture database.

Meir Deutsch, director of policy and parliamentary affairs at Regavim, explains that the law began to take shape almost three years ago, after the death of David Cohen of Retamim in a collision with a camel near the entrance to his home town.

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“Since the legislative process began, three more people lost their lives in tragic, but avoidable, camel accidents,” said Deutsch. “After the most recent accident, in which 13-year old Liel Almakias was killed, Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Eitan Cabel took up the cause and expedited the legislation’s progress. We hope these new regulations will reduce the problem of wandering camels and help save lives.”

Said Smotrich: “We approved an important piece of legislation today, after intensive efforts. Residents of the Negev deserve to be protected by the state, and those who should be held responsible will be forced to take responsibility. With God’s help, the danger to life and limb and the fatal collisions caused by wandering camels will soon be a thing of the past. Today, we took an important step towards this goal—better late than never.”

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