The Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee approved new regulations that will impose administrative fines on illegal construction and violations of demolition orders.
Regulations approved on Monday by the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee mandate administrative fines ranging from NIS 8,000 to NIS 300,000, to be levied as a first line of defense against illegal construction, according to specific criteria, including size of the structure, location, specific building or utilization infractions, private versus corporate construction, and more.
“After years of inaction, the ‘money time’ is finally here. The State of Israel must prove that it is serious about putting an end to what has been called ‘a national scourge,’ ” Regavim, an NGO at the forefront of the legal and legislative battle against illegal construction throughout Israel, said in a statement. Regavim welcomed the Knesset committee’s approval of the new regulations.
“In the State of Israel, there are hundreds of thousands of ‘hardcore’ illegal structures, aside from structures that deviate from building code regulations,” says Meir Deutsch, director of policy and parliamentary affairs at Regavim. “The situation is such that the Supreme Court categorized illegal construction in Israel as a ‘national epidemic.’ ”
To date, the overwhelming majority of construction offenders spent years in court, in long and exhausting proceedings that generally ended without any enforcement on the ground—a process that diluted any deterrent effect the law might have had. “The new regulations will, for the first time, create an immediate response and present a formidable deterrent against building offenses,” said Deutsch. “Now we must ensure that the new regulations are applied and enforced.”