Israeli Sex Offenders Are No Longer Allowed to Change Name

Stated aim of newly approved law is to prevent such convicts from hiding their past from people. 'Systems don’t always work. Not everyone is monitored,' says MK

File photo: Israel's Givon Prison in November, 2018.
Tomer Appelbaum

The Knesset on Monday passed into law a bill that prohibits people convicted of sex crimes from changing their name.

“The law came about as a response to complaints by women who were shocked to learn they had been in a relationship with convicted sex offenders in the past,” said Meretz MK Michal Rozin, who drafted the law.

“This had been hidden from them since the men had changed their names. We’re now letting the public and the victims protect themselves from people convicted of sex crimes.”

>> Read more: Dramatic rise seen in Israeli teenagers' reporting sex crimes ■ Israel's law against prostitution heralds a new era of gender equality

In explanatory notes to the law it says that every citizen is allowed to change his or her name or surname, but that convicted sex offenders could abuse this right in order to continue endangering the public under another name. The notes go on to say there is no dispute that a convict can open a new page in life, but that limits need to be in place.

Habayit Hayehudi MK Moti Yogev, who helped draft the law, noted, “Coming right after 1,000 criminals, including sex offenders, were released from prison (due to overcrowding), this law is even more important. Systems don’t always work".

"There are registered offenders, but not everyone is monitored," Yogev added. "This law which will allow victims to protect themselves against offenders who change their names, but not their behavior.”