Last Tuesday’s session was just under six hours as the plenum ended at 9:54 PM. Only four bills were discussed, and they were passed in their first readings. The biggest chunk of the longest Tuesday of the summer session was the discussion on lifting MK Zoabi’s privileges.
Summary on Non-Bills
- 19 MKs participated in the one minute speech segment.
- Former Culture Minister MK Magadla bombarded current Culture Minister Livnat during question hour with allegations of negligence.
- MK Eldad reported on the Knesset delegation to the Mediterranean Group of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly in Rome.
- The Knesset approved Funds Committee Chairman Gafni’s (U.T.J.) proposal 11-0. Gafni explained that his bill would exempt cemeteries that are not used for profit from paying city and government taxes. Gafni asked to split the bill into two so that the consensus part of the bill can be passed soon and the rest of the bill can be passed later on.
- The Knesset discussed one motion at the end of the session. The motion on the Economic benefits to the Palestinians while the Palestinian Authority boycotts products from Israel was discussed by MK Eldad and MK Danon. The motion, designed to put pressure on the government, passed 9-0.
Amendment on the Proposed Traffic Ordinance
MK Amar (Y.B.) explained that his amendment would create a different alcohol concentration test for some drunk drivers. The three groups that will be included are drivers under 24 year old, public transportation drivers and truck drivers. These groups would be held to a higher standard than regular drivers.
The bill passed its first reading 11-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.
Amendment on the Permanent Service in the Army – the Israel Defense Forces Bill
MK Regev (Likud) explained that her amendment would allow career soldier women to keep their jobs during pregnancy and be allowed to return to their jobs after their maternity leave. Regev said the current situation where the soldier is forced to choose between motherhood and her job is unacceptable.
The bill passed its first reading 13-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.
Committee proposed to take away MK Haneen Zoabi’s rights until the end of the Knesset term
House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) and 26 other MKs spoke on the subject. Due to time constraints I will not cover what each of the 27 MKs said on the subject. That said, if I have enough readers request that I do I will change my mind.
Speaker Rivlin announced he would not vote. Zoabi’s rights to leave the country during wartime, her diplomatic passport and legal expenses were all revoked by identical 34-16 votes. For those who are wondering, the 11 MKs from the Arab parties, Labor MK Magadla, the three Meretz MKs and Kadima MK Mula were the 16 votes against. The Arab MKs and MK Oron (Meretz) caused a big commotion. Speaker Rivlin threw them out, and security took their time removing them forcefully. It should be noted 70 MKs were not present and did not vote.
Amendment on the Second Authority for Television and Radio Bill
Communications Minister Kachalon (Likud) explained that his amendment would make it easier to obtain a TV broadcast franchise license.
MK Chanin (Chadash) warned that this would privatize television even further and allow a company to own part of a TV channel for a 15 year term, as opposed to today’s 10 year term. Chanin called it a problematic bill.
MK Cabel (Labor) said that he usually agrees with MK Chanin, but in this case he disagrees. Cabel said that the consensus is that Communications Minister Kachalon knows what he is doing. Cabel said that the TV market in Israel is dying and this will give it a shot in the arm. He reminded that regulation will keep the investors in check.
MK Ze’ev (Shas) talked about a bunny cooking show and a kids show with a ten year old wearing a shirt that said “sex call me”. He talked about the reality shows that promote premarital sex and drugs. Ze’ev said that we need Jewish values in our TV and to stop showing such filth.
The bill passed its first reading 17-2 and was sent to the Finance Committee.
Amendment on the Labor, Social Welfare and Health Bill
MK Gilon (Meretz) explained that his amendment would assist in solving legislative conflicts between the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Bill and the Labor, Social Welfare and Health Bill.
The bill passed its first reading 16-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.