MK Shlomo Mula (Kadima) put forward a bill calling for the courts to consider the ethnic descent of defendants as a mitigating circumstance before sentencing them.
Any possible mitigation, said Mula, could only apply to criminal offenses which are considered "acceptable" within a specific ethnic group and only if they are punishable by a three-year prison term or less.
"In legal literature and in many of the rulings abroad there is a term called 'cultural defense', which recognizes and asserts that a person's cultural background may influence their actions; thereby protecting them from certain criminal liabilities," said Mula in the bill's brief.
"The criminal statute should allow a cultural defense on principal. It should only be used, however, after the case has been thoroughly examined.
"In any case, the defense would only be available for offenses punishable by fewer than three years in jail," he told Ynet. "No one will be able to use it to justify grave offices, such as honor killings."
"In a world and a country which speak of the desire to be multi-cultural, the statute incorporates certain cultural defenses within the criminal law," he said, adding however that the future bill's implementation will have to take into consideration the rights of the victims of any such cultural customs