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Israel: Prohibition of Age-Based Discrimination in Public Places and in Provision of Products and Services

(July 15, 2014) On July 7, 2014, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed the Prohibition of Discrimination (Amendments) Law, 5774-2014. (Text [in Hebrew], Knesset website, [scroll down to appropriate link].) Explanatory notes for the bill state that public attention to the harmful impact of age-based discrimination has increased in recent years in part “due to the rise in longevity.” (Prohibition of Discrimination (Amendments) Bill [in Hebrew] (May 28, 2014), p. 100, Knesset website [scroll down to locate].)

The amendment law adds age-based discrimination to a list of other already recognized grounds constituting prohibited forms of discrimination under the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination in [the Provision of] Products, Services, and Entry to Places of Entertainment and [Other] Public Areas, 5761-2000 (SEFER HAHUKIM [SH] 5761 No. 1765, p. 58), as well as under the Patients’ Rights Law, 5756-1996 (SH 5756, No. 1591, p. 327), both as amended. In addition to age-based discrimination, both of these laws generally prohibit discrimination based on religion, race, national origin, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation; the anti-discrimination law further prohibits discrimination based on personal views, political affiliation, personal status, and parenthood. (Law on Prohibition of Discrimination …, § 3(a); Patients’ Rights Law § 28(a).)

The anti-discrimination law provides, however, that differential treatment based on any of the prohibited grounds will be excused if it is required based on the character or the type of the product, public service, or place. (Law on Prohibition of Discrimination …, § 3(d).) An example of such a case is provided by the explanatory notes for the amendment law, which refer to blocking the entry of minors to screenings of adult movies. (Prohibition of Discrimination (Amendments) Bill, supra.)

Age-based discrimination was added by the amendment law to the list of activities that are prohibited under the Patients’ Rights Law and that are punishable by a fine. (Prohibition of Discrimination (Amendments) Law, art. 2; Patients’ Rights Law § 28(a).) According to the Patients’ Rights Law, however, differential medical treatment based on age is not prohibited when it is required for medical reasons. (Patients’ Rights Law, § 4(b), as amended.)