The consumption of prostitution in Israel is on the decline, while the number of Israelis who perceive the profession in a negative light has increased, according to a new study published Tuesday.
The new data was released a little over three years after the Knesset first passed the bill which outlaws the purchase of sex in Israel.
As per the law, soliciting to prostitution is a criminal offense punishable by a significant fine. The law first passed in 2018, tool effect in July 2020 and its enforcement began in January 2021.
"The State of Israel has conveyed a clear educational message in the enactment of the law prohibiting the consumption of prostitution: This is an immoral phenomenon and is therefore prohibited," said Adv. Nitzan Kahana, who advocated for the law.
"Already with the approval of the law in a preliminary reading, there was a dramatic decrease in the consumption of prostitution in Israel, and appeals for prostitution rehabilitation have increased by 210%."
The study - conducted by the Brookdale Institute for the Welfare and Interior ministries - found that about 84% of all Israelis consider prostitution a harmful and degrading social phenomenon that serves to damage the person’s honor, while 23% believe that "prostitution is a legitimate profession.”
The study also found that 45% believe that women have every right to sell their body for sex - and that those soliciting to prostitution come from all walks of life, ages, education levels and marital status - i.e. both married and single.
Overall, about 20% of all men who took part in the study admitted they had paid for sex at least once. Among men who paid for sex in the five years prior to the study, 68% testified that they had solicited to prostitution more than once.
In addition, the study also found that the number of men who had said that they paid for sex dropped from 11% before the 2018 law, to 7% in 2019 and 5% in 2020 - the year the law went into effect - while 18% said that they had stopped their solicitation altogether due to the law.