Israel changes prostitution rules in order to protect 'working women'


Israel will no longer prosecute brothels as long as they are owned by the women who work in them.

While no change has been made to the laws forbidding prostitution, the state prosecution office promised on Monday not to press charges against prostitutes as long as they are either running their business from their own homes or on premises rented by the prostitutes themselves.

The state’s commitment was made in an ongoing court case in the Tel Aviv peace court and as part of a ruling by Judge Itay Harmelin designed to “get working women off the streets” and protect them from both violent pimps and police harassment.

The Justice Ministry’s move to effectively legalise prostitution through the back door may, however, run counter to the political consensus.

Few Israeli politicians are prepared to publicly back legalisation and the main women’s rights organisations are also opposed.

A new law that would criminalise the clients instead of the prostitutes has been making its way through the Knesset, authored by Meretz Leader Zehava Galon and Shuli Muallem-Refaeli of Jewish Home.

The proposal found the support of the Internal Security Ministry – on condition the police would receive additional personnel to enforce the new law.

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