Israeli Law Restricting Access to Websites Invoked for the First Time

The State Attorney office in Israel has filed the first motions seeking court orders to restrict access to Israeli websites advertising prostitution. These are the first motions ever filed within the ambit of the Powers for Preventing the Commission of Offenses through Websites Law, legislated in July 2017.

The new law empowers a district court judge to issue, on motion by a solicitor from the State Attorney office, an order to Internet access providers to block access to a website used for the commission of certain offenses enumerated in the law, including promotion of prostitution.

A judge may issue the order after he or she are persuaded that an order is necessary to prevent the continued commission of the offense. If a website is hosted on a server in Israel or is controlled by an Israeli person, the law grants the court power to issue an order to take down the website entirely. The first of the two motions filed seeks the complete takedown of a website advertising prostitution. The other seeks a court decision that orders Internet access providers to block access to a website. Just days after the first two motions were filed, the State Attorney office filed eight additional motions concerning other websites advertising prostitution.