The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted to support the proposed legislation by MKs Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) to put time limits on criminal investigations for relatively minor crimes.
Currently, there is no limit on how long police investigations can continue. During this time a suspect may lose social standing, suffer financially or be affected in the workplace. Traditionally, open-ended criminal investigations was effectively used against religious and rightwing politicians and activists by the leftists controlling the courts and police in Israel to intimidate them and tie them up in exhausting and expensive court cases spanning over 10 years. Well known cases include Aryeh Deri, Avigdor Lieberman and Moshe Levinger, among many others.
Once the legislation is passed by the government, a criminal investigation can last only 6 months for a misdemeanor, a year for a felony, and two years for any crime carrying a maximum jail sentence of between three and ten years. There will be no limits on crime investigations which carry a possible sentence of more than ten years.
The Attorney General will have the authority, in exceptional cases, to extend the time of an investigation by up to six months at a time.
Before supporting the law, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan met with representatives from the Justice Ministry and the Israel Police to ensure that the new law would not prevent law enforcement authorities from performing their duties. A number of modifications suggested by the police were adopted in the bill.