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The Public Security Ministry is promulgating a draft law that would give police officers the authority to search patrons in bars and clubs with a high incidence of violence, even in cases where the subjects are not suspected of any wrongdoing.

The Public Defender's Office and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel have both registered their objection to expanding police officers' powers of search.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is slated to discuss the bill on Sunday. It is being introduced following a resolution approved by the panel to increase personal security and reduce violence in public places in general and entertainment establishments in particular.

Under the proposed law, district police chiefs would be granted the authority to place a specific establishment under the expanded search regime. The regime would be valid for a set period of time, and a sign informing patrons of the police's search powers would be posted at the entrance.

Police officers would be authorized to conduct body searches for weapons, including licensed guns, if they believe the subject might be about to commit violence.

The expanded search regime could be applied to clubs, bars and other places where alcohol is sold or served, including venues for card and dice games, pool and billiards and gaming machines, as well as sports venues.