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Israel: Prohibition of Violence in Sports

(Sept. 8, 2008) On July 30, 2008, the Knesset (Israel's parliament) passed the Prohibition of Violence in Sports Law, 5768-2008. The Law incorporates provisions previously applicable only to soccer and basketball based on specific amendments of the Safety in Public Places Law, 5723-1962. The Law is designed to improve law enforcement and eliminate violence in sports-related activities. According to explanatory notes of the bill, the need for a separate law that will regulate violence in all areas of sports was triggered by repeated incidents of expressions of violence and racism in sports' fields and events.

The Law prescribes conditions for holding sports events depending on the number of spectators. Such conditions include: acquisition of a business license or a temporary permit, provision of ushers, and hiring of sports event and security managers for big events. The qualifications and authority of these managers are listed in the Law. The Law further prescribes the powers of enforcement of policemen and police officers. It also prohibits bringing guns, explosives, knives, and dangerous substances to any place where a sports event is being held. A special provision expressly prohibits the uttering of any racist expression during a sports event and subjects the violator to two years of imprisonment. By a court order, a person may be prohibited from entering any location where a sports event is being held. (Prohibition of Violence in Sports Law and Bill, 5768-2008, the Knesset website, (last visited Aug. 21, 2008).)