The Environmental Protection Ministry this week released a draft amendment to the wildlife protection legislation, that will see trade in wildlife fur prohibited in Israel.
According to the amendment, which will remain in effect for one year, trading in fur in Israel will be prohibited, unless for religious purposes or scientific research.
The maximum penalty for violating the new regulations will be a fine of up to NIS 75,000 or a year of imprisonment.
The Nature and Parks Authority will be responsible for the enforcement of the regulations.
The explanatory memorandum accompanying the amendment states: “Every year the fur industry kills hundreds of millions of animals. The fur industry involves indescribable cruelty and suffering for the animals. Some are captured in the wild using cruel methods and others are kept in narrow cages all their lives. In many cases, the fur of the animals is removed while they are still alive."
The memorandum further states: "In a country as hot as Israel, the use of furs is particularly outrageous, since there is no need for furs and they are acquired mainly as a status symbol. In the 21st century, there are plenty of synthetic fabrics that are warmer than furs."
Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel said: "The fur industry is killing hundreds of millions of animals worldwide, and involves indescribable cruelty and suffering. Utilizing the skin and fur of wildlife for the fashion industry is immoral. The move will stop the fur trade in Israel and do a kindness to animals.”
The move won praise from international animal rights group PETA, which said in a statement that it "applauds Israel's Ministry of Environmental Protection for recognizing that the trade in coats, pom-poms, and other frivolous fashion items made from wild animals' fur offends the values held by all decent citizens."
The AnimalsNow Association, which works to stop the abuse of animals in Israel said: "We are pleased and welcome the courageous decision of the environmental protection minister to put an end to the sale of furs in Israel.
"Already at the beginning of the struggle, 86% of the Israeli public expressed a clear position that imprisonment in cages, torture and brutal killing of foxes, minks, dogs and cats for extravagant and unnecessary fashion items is unbearable.”
Over the years, several attempts have been made to advance the ban on the fur industry in Israel.
In 2019, a storm broke out following a probe by the National Fraud Investigations Unit into members of the Gilad lobbying firm for alleged bribery.
The investigation was launched following a 2015 TV expose, which claimed that Gilad, which at the time represented the International Fur Trade Federation in Israel, allegedly flew several MKs to Denmark in an effort to persuade them to vote against a bill to restrict the trade of fur in Israel.
Last year, the state of California became the first place in the world to ban the sale of fur products. This is after major cities in the United States outlawed the sale of furs completely such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and more.
The fashion world has also begun to boycott the fur industry, which has become ever more taboo over the years.
The many fashion houses and designers who have boycotted the industry include Prada, Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Versace, and even popular high street chains such as Zara and H&M.