'Shai Dromi' Home Invasion Bill Okayed for Plenum Vote

The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee yesterday approved for second and third readings a broad version of the "Shai Dromi Bill," which absolves from criminal responsibility anyone who kills or injures an intruder in his home, business or farm.

This decision means that the law can be passed in second and third plenum readings before the Knesset is potentially dissolved. It is expected to pass in the plenum within two weeks.

Meretz whip Zahava Gal-On said at the committee meeting that the bill "gives permission to kill people," and suggested sarcastically: "Just spray the intruders and be done with it. Hand out machine guns to every moshavnik."

Negev rancher Shai Dromi was charged with manslaughter after shooting intruders on his ranch. The Shai Dromi Bill is aimed at avoiding a trial in these cases. The bill was proposed by MKs Yisrael Katz (Likud), Yisrael Hasson (Israel Beiteinu), and Zvi Hendel and Eliahu Gabay (National Union-NRP). Six lawmakers supported it in committee and four opposed, including committee chair Menahem Ben-Sasson (Kadima).

During the Knesset's winter term a severe disagreement arose between the MKs and officials in the attorney general's office, regarding whether the law would apply only to homes, or also to businesses and farms.

Ben-Sasson referred the matter for decision to the ministerial committee on legislation, which decided on a broad interpretation that includes farms and even grazing land.

According to the version approved yesterday, "a person shall not be held criminally responsible for an action that was necessary immediately to repel someone breaking into or entering a residence, place of business or fenced farm, with the intention of perpetrating a crime, or someone trying to break in."

The law would not apply in a case where the act of self-defense was "patently unreasonable," or in the event that a provocation led to the break-in.

The bill would make exemption from criminal responsibility due to self-defense more flexible in two respects. It does not require that a person defending himself against an intruder to be in tangible danger, as is required of a person who acts to repel an assailant. Secondly, it grants protection to a person who has acted in an unreasonable manner (though not patently unreasonable).