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Knesset Economics Committee chair MK Amnon Cohen (Shas) has submitted a bill that would compensate those who receive unsolicited advertising via fax or cellular phone. According to the proposal, recipients of such spam could receive compensation without proving damages.

MK Gila Finkelstein (NRP) proposed adding a clause that would expand the penalty to cover advertising distributed via electronic mail.

Dina Ivri-Omer of the Communications Ministry legal department said that police don't enforce the current prohibition on spam advertising so it was decided to add mechanisms to facilitate civil suits against advertisers. Ivri-Omer also said the ministry is considering imposing fines on anyone who sends advertising without the recipient's consent.

Cohen said the fact that the consumer must sue the advertiser in court means the ministry is shirking its duty to protect consumers and that the law must deter use of SMS, fax and e-mail at the public's expense.

MK David Tal (Noy) said that SMS harassment had become a national scourge, "particularly matchmaking services that masquerade as the recipient's acquaintance."

Attorney Zeev Friedman of the Israeli consumer council suggested limiting the times of the day that advertising could be sent. He said many people wake up, panicked, in the middle of the night to the sound of a ringing phone, only to discover an advertisement.

Cellular carrier Partner Communications' Keren Scheinman said the bill's requirement that each ad contain the advertisers name and details was illogical, as SMS text messages have room for just 70 characters.