Archive for March, 2011


Wednesday’s session lasted about eight hours. Ten bills were discussed, and four of those bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings. Three bills were pulled and two were turned into motions to avoid defeat, while one bill was defeated. The four bills advanced will send a person to jail if he declaws his pet, label youth group counselors as preferred jobs for former soldiers, give a full reimbursement to mothers who take a non-Magen David Adom ambulance trip to give birth at a hospital and create a special prohibition for whistleblowers who are not spies, like Anat Kam.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) and Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.
  • Ten motions were discussed on the hot topics of the day. A motion on the need to establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry following the police shootings in the Gilad Farm was defeated 3-29, and a motion on a proposed agreement to legalize illegal Bedouin Arab settlements was defeated 3-7.  Five motions were passed and sent for further discussion in various committees by the votes 15-0, 10-2, 7-3, 7-2 and 6-0. Two motions were not brought up for a vote.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the National Insurance Bill

MK Maklev (U.T.J.) explained that his amendment will allow non-Magen David Adom ambulances to act as a transport service provider for women who are giving birth free of charge. He stated that under the bill there would be a 100% reimbursement, which will match the current law that applies to Magen David Adom ambulances.

Minister Eitan (Likud) expressed government support for the bill. At the end of his speech he said the government doesn’t support the bill. He admitted he was confused by the paper he was reading off of and asked to confer with the Justice Minister. After a minute he returned to the podium and expressed government support.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) praised the teachers in the gallery who were watching the session.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 43-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss it further.

Amendment to the Penal Code Bill

MK Schneller (Kadima) explained his amendment would create a new prohibition on the use and delivery of confidential information. He stated that currently under the law the prohibition of the use and delivery of confidential information is only when being delivered to an enemy. He pointed out that this amendment will enable a situation where someone like Anat Kam will not be charged with the delivery of confidential information for the enemy but will be charged with the delivery of confidential information. He said that Anat Kam is a criminal, but not a spy, and she deserves to be charged and punished by a different law.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 36-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss it further.

Amendment to the Antitrust Bill/Motion

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained that her amendment would require setting a minimum price for all newspapers that have a high circulation. She slammed Yisrael Hayom as a pro-Netanyahu newspaper that helped him capture the premiership and is currently helping him maintain that position. She noted this is her third bill aimed at prohibiting the circulation of the paper. She blasted the paper’s owner, who isn’t an Israeli citizen and is meddling in Israeli internal opinion. She warned that Israel is on its way towards a banana republic. She warned that if Israel wishes to be a democratic society they must say no to the paper that is becoming a monopoly of press.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that it sees no reason to intervene in the private press. He suggested turning the bill into a motion to discuss which safeguards should be added, while maintaining the freedom of the press, speech and expression. MK Solodkin agreed.

Speaker Rivlin said it is dangerous for the Knesset to outlaw a newspaper or other media outlets and announced he would vote against the motion, despite government support.

The motion passed its preliminary reading 28-2 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss it further.

Amendment to the Planning and Construction Bill

MK Bielski (Kadima) explained that his amendment would change zoning to promote housing that will be affordable for young people. He stated that every city has land that it wants to release to the public to purchase but they can’t because the zoning isn’t residential. He said this bill will fix that and change their zoning to residential. He noted this would free up land within built-up neighborhoods without the need to build new schools or parks. He called his bill a supertanker. He wondered if the ministerial committee of legislative affairs works for the Mossad, because he can never find out who voted what.

Speaker Rivlin asked Bielski to pull his bill and not vote on it and he will talk to the ministers about his logical bill. Bielski and Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) agreed.

Amendment to the New Shekel Currency Bill

MK Whbee explained his amendment would force all prices to be rounded to an amount that is no less than 10 agurot. He blasted the current situation that rounds the agurot up or down, because people end up losing money over prices that don’t exist. He noted that the agurot were cancelled, but they still take the agura from you when they charge you 9.99.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the agurot are there digitally, and only when a person pays in cash does he not receive his agurot. He added that the current system of rounding up or down for those who pay in cash is fair.

The bill was defeated 26-40.

Amendment to the Annual Leave Bill/Motion

MK Sarsur (R.T.) explained his amendment would allow the receipt of free leave from work for Arabs who choose to observe the Haj and Omar pilgrimages. He noted that these pilgrimages are a once in a lifetime deal so there is no reason to oppose it.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon opposed the bill on the grounds that currently people can take vacation days for that purpose. He suggested turning the bill into a motion to discuss potential cases where an employee would not have enough vacation days.

The motion passed 36-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Two Amendments to the Arrangements Bill

MK Eldad (N.U.) explained that his amendment would grant a reduction in municipal taxes for a disabled person who lives with his parents. He called the current situation absurd that disabled people who can’t live on their own and are living with their parents are not entitled to a reduction in municipal taxes while those who live alone do receive a reduction.

MK Oron (Meretz) explained his similar bill is important and must be passed. He called the current situation unacceptable. He noted that the parents receive a reduction in municipal taxes for their disabled child until he is 18 but are being asked to give up either him or the discount when he turns 18. He announced that this would be his last bill and he would retire at the end of the week.

Both bills were pulled and will be voted on at a different time.

Amendment to the National Insurance Bill

MK Ezra (Kadima) explained his amendment would recognize work as a youth group counselor after one’s army service as a preferred job. He noted the counselors would receive tax reductions and benefits and receive incentive packages from the government. He blasted the current preferred job program of gas station clerks and hotel workers.

Minister Eitan expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 35-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss it further.

Amendment to the Protection of Animal Welfare Bill

MK Cabel (Labor) explained his amendment would place a prohibition on removing animals’ nails for all reasons other than health needs. He blasted those who declaw for domestic purposes, particularly cats. He stated that those who can’t deal with animals in their true nature should not have them as pets. He stressed that animals have feelings and it is wrong to declaw them, because it hurts them and they can’t protect themselves afterwards, if needed.

MK Zeev (Shas) blasted the bill on the grounds that it will take away from the veterinarians a significant part of their salary. He stressed if the animal is asleep it won’t hurt it. He slammed Cabel for asking for a three-year jail sentence for those who violate the bill. He asked Cabel if he lost his head.

Agriculture Minister Noked (Independence) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 19-0 with MK Zeev abstaining and was sent to the Health Committee.

Tuesday’s session lasted about three hours. Three bills were discussed. Two bills were advanced after passing their first readings and one became law after passing its third reading. The new law updates the religious Druze courts to match the Jewish courts. One of the advanced bills will allow tax deductions for selected social, culture and welfare programs. The other advanced bill will allow the extension of visas for foreign workers who work as nurses in certain cases.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • 16 MKs took part in the one-minute speech segment of the day. The main topic was the massacre in Itamar.
  • A motion on National Science Day was discussed by Speaker Rivlin, Science Minister Hershkowitz (J.H.) and five other MKs. The motion wasn’t voted on.
  • A motion on the BBC poll that found Israel is the most hated country in the world was discussed by three MKs and Hasbara Minister Edelstein (Likud).
  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced that MK Mofaz would fill a vacancy on a Justice sub-committee.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Religious Druze Court Bill

Law, Constitution and Justice Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) explained the amendment would update the Druze Courts Bill to match various portions of the Jewish Courts Bill. He noted that there haven’t been many changes to the bill over the last 40 years and this bill will help the courts operate more efficiently.

The bill passed its second reading 9-0.

The bill passed its third reading 9-0.

MK Amar (Y.B.) thanked the government for supporting the bill and for giving the Druze Bill its first facelift since 1962. He thanked the other Druze MKs Whbee (Kadima), Naffaa (Balad) and Deputy Minister Kara (Likud) for co-sponsoring the bill with him.

Amendment to the Wage Protection Bill

MK Yacimovich (Labor) explained that the amendment would allow tax deductions for those who donate to selected social, culture and welfare programs.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) supported the bill. He went on to talk about the anniversary of Joseph Trumpeldor’s death and the Tel Chai massacre of eight Jews by the hands of Arabs in 1920. He stated we pay a heavy price for settling our land. He concluded by quoting Trumpeldor, “No matter, it is good to die for our country”.

The bill passed its first reading 9-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Amendment to the Entry into Israel Bill

Interior and Environment Committee Chairman Azoulay (Shas) explained that the amendment would allow a foreign worker who works in nursing to receive a visa extension if the patient being cared for is near death. He hoped this would put the patients at ease and add extra time to their lives by having a good quality nurse for the remainder of their life. He added that a committee will be in charge of choosing which case is worthy and which is not.

MK Ben Ari suggested that by helping the elderly patients he is harming the country by extending the foreigners’ visas. He warned the longer a foreigner stays in Israel, the longer the country is in danger of having them get married and staying here permanently. He announced that he would oppose the bill.

The bill passed its first reading 6-1 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Monday’s session lasted about three hours and forty minutes. Eight bills were discussed. Six bills became law after passing their third readings and two were advanced after passing their first readings. The highlight bills of the day were a new law that will remove all unnecessary minefields and a new law that eases the judges’ workload by 25% at the expense of reducing defendants’ rights. The latter is one of only two government bills during this entire term to be defeated at one point. In both cases the government eventually managed to pull a majority together to advance them and eventually pass them at a later date.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • 15 MKs discussed an urgent motion on the Itamar Massacre. The motion to discuss the matter further in the plenum so other MKs would have a chance to talk was passed 16-0.
  • The Knesset approved the transfer of certain powers from Agriculture Minister Noked (Independence) to Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) by a vote of 16-0.
  • The Knesset approved the Finance Committee’s request to split a bill into two bills by a vote of 12-0.
  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced which disputed bills will be discussed in which committees.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Criminal Procedure Bill

Law, Constitution and Justice Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) explained that his amendment would extend the enforcement powers of the police to keep a prisoner under arrest for up to 90 days without seeing a judge, after he saw a judge in his first 96 hours. He added that the bill would also prohibit the second appeal to sentencing, which prisoners are currently allowed by law. He concluded by explaining this bill will reduce the judges’ workload by up to 25%.

MK Khenin (Hadash) expressed his five objections to the bill. He said we all want to reduce the judges’ workload, but this bill reduces the rights of every citizen. He asked how a democratic country can keep a prisoner in jail for 90 days without seeing a judge, after he has been charged, but before he has a chance to be proven innocent. He blasted the clause that takes away the democratic right to a second appeal. He stated this bill does the opposite of protecting the defendant as innocent until proven guilty. He blasted the clause where a person can be found guilty and not be sentenced for up to nine months. He attacked the bill as a violation of the basic right of freedom by removing several key meetings of a trial and extending the time a defendant waits for his trial to finish.

The bill’s paragraphs passed their second readings 38-3, 37-3 and 36-3.

MK Khenin’s objections were defeated 2-34, 3-36 and 3-32. He agreed to withdraw his last two objections after it became clear they would also be defeated.

The bill passed its third reading 36-3.

Amendment to the Disengagement Plan Implementation Bill

Funds Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) explained that the bill would add those who rented in Gush Katif for over two years before being evicted from their home to become part of the compensation plan and receive assistance towards housing. He stressed that this bill is important because these people are still living in caravans and have gone through trauma from years of neglect. Gafni said he agreed with Oron’s objection but the government doesn’t have the money for it, so he asks the coalition to oppose it.

MK Oron (Meretz) explained that his objection would add a clause to the bill that enables the financial compensation of 41 people who owned factories or buildings in the Erez Crossing and were forced to evacuate them by the order of former Prime Minister Olmert a few years after the disengagement. He complained it isn’t fair that these people evacuated without causing problems, had their lives torn apart, and now have nothing to show for it because they didn’t live there, they only worked there.

The bill passed its paragraphs in the second reading 38-0-1 and 37-0-1.

MK Oron’s objection was defeated 4-28.

The bill passed its third reading 38-0-1.

Evacuation of Minefields Bill

MK Bar-On (Kadima) reported that former MK Hanegbi (Kadima) and his 72 co-sponsors signed the bill after meeting a child who lost his leg on a field trip in the Golan last year. Bar-On stated that the bill creates a committee that would be charged with removing all unnecessary mines. He stressed that the land will be able to be used for national parks and reserves or other public purposes. He thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for supporting the bill.

The bill passed its second reading 43-0.

The bill passed its third reading 43-0.

Expanding the Fair Representation of Women Bill

MK Itzik (Kadima) explained that the amendment would demand that every government committee have at least one female member.

MK Ben-Ari (N.U.) blasted the Arab MKs who called Palestinian terrorists “freedom fighters”. He slammed the Arab MKs who called for the release of terrorists. He attacked the government for not building the 400 approved housing units in Itamar.

MK Zeev (Shas) opposed the bill on the grounds that it will complicate the committee selection process. He asked what would happen if there are no qualified women who can be appointed to the committee and whether that would that prevent the committee from being founded. He noted that we had a female Prime Minister Meir, a current female opposition leader and several female candidates for the President, such as former Speaker Itzik. He concluded by saying that the bill discriminates against men.

MK Wilf (Independence) said she supported the bill. She hoped this bill would give a push to the current system to choose talented women who are not well-known and would not have had a chance without this bill to be appointed to a committee.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) asked why the government supports this bill and a similar bill for Arabs, but opposes the Expanding the Fair Representation of Haredim Bill. He asked how they can claim that they can’t approve the bill because they disagree over who is considered Haredi, but when it comes to bills that discriminate against the Haredim everything works out.

MK Ilatov (Y.B.) supported the bill and noted that one-third of his party’s MKs are female.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) supported the bill and called himself a feminist. He went on to tell the people of Itamar that the “country” of Tel Aviv is with them and are condemning the massacre and demanding justice for the killers.

The bill passed its first reading 22-1 and was sent to the Women’s Rights Committee. MK Shamalov Berkovich (Kadima) announced that she opposed the bill by mistake, but the MKs heckled her claiming she opposed the bill on purpose.

Amendment to the Israel Economic Recovery Program to Achieve Budget Targets of Economic Policy for Fiscal Years 2003 and 2004 Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) explained that the amendment would exempt New Zealand workers from various taxes. He stated this would help Israelis hire New Zealand workers because of the tax break.

The bill passed its second reading 21-0.

The bill passed its third reading 21-0.

Amendment to the Land Bill

Interior and Environment Committee Chairman Azoulay (Shas) explained that the amendment would require an apartment to have a Shabbat elevator even if it is the only elevator in the building in the event that 51% of the residents approve the measure. He added that 100% of the building would be required to pay for the Shabbat elevator expenses, even if they opposed the Shabbat elevator.

The bill passed its second reading 18-0.

The bill passed its third reading 19-0.

MK Orbach (J.H.) thanked the Knesset for approving the law. He noted it took him two years to gain support for it. He thanked MK Ilatov for helping him find a solution that will work for both religious and secular residents.

Amendment to the Energy Sources Bill

Interior and Environment Committee Chairman Azoulay explained that the amendment would require the government to implement conservation programs in its energy plants (water, electricity, gas, etc), and add additional security protocols to protect the plants and their workers.

MK Khenin called the bill an energy revolution that will conserve energy and protect the environment. He hoped this bill would bring Israel another step closer to energy independence. He thanked MK Ilatov for convincing the government to drop its objections to the bill.

The bill passed its second reading 17-0.

The bill passed its third reading 18-0.

Amendment to the Patents Bill

Agriculture Minister Noked (Independence) explained that the amendment would create a national authority that would maintain an index to be used for searches of all of Israel’s patents.

The bill passed its first reading 16-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Last Wednesday’s session lasted about eight hours. Ten bills were discussed. Four bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, five were defeated and one was turned into a motion in order to avoid defeat. The highlight bill of the day was one that would prohibit discrimination based on a citizen’s place of residence. Two bills that would raise the permitted minimum age for marriage from 17 to 18 were defeated.

Non-Bills Summary

  • Home-front Defense Minister Vilnai (Independence), Culture and Sport Minister Livnat (Likud) and Justice Minister Neeman answered urgent queries.
  • Speaker Rivlin welcomed Kenya’s Speaker of the House with a warm speech.
  • Six of the nine motions discussed passed by the votes 9-7, 4-3, 9-0, 19-0, 8-0 and 3-0. The other three motions were not voted on.
  • Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) announced the House Committee’s decision on which committees will discuss which disputed bills.
  • Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) and Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas) answered queries.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Establishing Museums and Canceling Restrictions on the Boards of the Centers that are in Commemoration of the Memory of Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin Bill

MK Levin (Likud) explained that his amendment would allow members of the board in both centers to serve more than one term in their positions.

Culture and Sport Minister Livnat (Likud) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 27-0 and was sent to the Culture Committee.

Amendment to the Prohibition of Discrimination in Products, Services and Entry to Entertainment and Public Places Bill

MK Orbach (J.H.) explained that his amendment would add the prohibition of discrimination based on place of residence to the bill’s list of offenses. He explained that there are companies that charge extra fees for entering Judea and Samaria, as well as Israeli Arab towns.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 33-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Two Amendments to the Marriage Age Bill

MK Zoabi (Balad) explained that her amendment would raise the legal age of marriage without parental consent from 17 to 18. She called this a feminist bill that should be supported by all female MKs, especially the day after International Women’s Day. She stated that young marriages are usually forced upon these women, specifically in the Arab and Haredi populations. She asked how the government could support high school students getting married. She noted that today 25% of Arab women get married with parental consent under the age of 17. She cited statistics that 10,800 of the 13,300 minors under the age of 17 who were married were Arab. She rejected claims that minors getting married are a tradition or religious practice. She concluded by revealing that the Israeli Rabbinate supports the bill.

MK Khenin (Hadash) explained that his similar bill prohibits the marriage of minors. He blasted the current minimum age of 17 for marriage as not respectable for a modern country. He noted that in almost all western countries the minimum age for marriage is 18. He added that his bill allows a few exceptions to the rule through which 17-year-olds would be allowed to be married with court approval.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the government is planning its own bill that includes different legal terms and wording. He agreed that the age must be raised to 18.

MK Zoabi asked that the government approve the bill in the preliminary reading and said she will attach it to the government bill when it is presented. The request was rejected.

MK Khenin asked that the government allow the two bills to be voted on at a later time, perhaps when the government brings their own bill. That request was rejected as well.

The first bill was defeated 10-39.

The second bill was defeated 8-40.

Amendment to the Israel National Toll Road Bill/Motion

MK Tibi (R.T.) explained that his amendment would grant a 50% discount for drivers who use a toll road when there is construction work on the road. He stated the point of a toll road is that it brings the driver to his destination faster, and the constant construction on route six is currently making that drive longer. He noted that in the ministerial committee of legislative affairs his bill fell by a vote of 4-6. He asked that the coalition MKs not kill a bill that was opposed by one vote. He slammed the government for supporting business mogul Leviev’s pocket and not the pockets of over a million citizens.

Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) opposed the bill on the grounds that this bill would cause the government to breach its contract with the company that runs the road. He added that in a situation where the government would breach contract the taxpayers would be forced to pay more money to compensate the company that runs the road than what the bill would save them.

MK Tibi asked if the government plans on changing the contract in a way that a compromise can be achieved.

Transportation Minister Katz suggested turning the bill into a motion in order to discuss the important matter further. MK Tibi agreed.

The motion passed 31-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Value Added Tax Bill

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) explained that his amendment would grant an exemption on VAT for young couples who are purchasing their first apartment for up to NIS 1.3 million. He stated that this is an easy quick fix that will lower the price of smaller apartments by 16% instantly. He spent the rest of his time blasting Netanyahu and his building policies.

Finance Minister Steinitz (Likud) started by blasting Hasson for using the family members of the Carmel fire victims for political leverage over Netanyahu. He went on to ask Hasson why he didn’t propose this bill in the previous term when Kadima was in power. He stated that the cost of this bill is 400 million and that he is not willing to cut the education or welfare budget to pay for it. He noted that the government went up from approving 32,000 housing units last year to 40,000 units this year.

MK Hasson defended his decision to bring the family members of the Carmel fire victims to meet with Netanyahu. He explained that Netanyahu had refused to meet them otherwise. He went on to attack Steinitz for tearing apart his bill without offering a different solution for young couples who are looking to purchase their first home.

The bill was defeated 25-40.

Amendment to the Income Tax Bill

MK Tirosh (Kadima) explained that her amendment would allow citizens to receive a tax deduction for mortgage interest on apartments that are worth less than NIS 1 million. She stated that few people meet the standards needed to enjoy this deduction, but those few people who do are very poor people and need this tax break badly. She noted that Ministers Erdan, Margi and Noked were among several MKs who proposed this bill in the past, and she asked all of the bill’s former sponsors to support the bill.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the bill will cost over NIS 100 million a year. He added that the bill doesn’t preclude rich people from buying properties worth less than NIS 1 million and receiving the deduction.

MK Tirosh called Cohen’s speech pathetic and insulting. She said all she heard was “blah, blah, blah”, and it sounded like just about every speech the government gives to oppose a bill. She said that the public isn’t stupid and will see right through it.

The bill was defeated 28-43.

Amendment to the Army Veterans Absorption Bill

MK Plesner (Kadima) explained that his amendment would include Jerusalem in the defined region assistance plans that the government offers citizens. He blasted Netanyahu for not living up to his political campaign promise of every soldier receiving their first year of university free of charge. He read off Knesset protocols of the previous time he proposed this bill with Minister Margi, Deputy Speaker Gamliel and Speaker Rivlin assuring they would support this bill if brought up again six months later if the government doesn’t implement his bill. Plesner said after six months of nothing he chose to bring up a small part of the bill that includes only Jerusalem, and even that is being opposed by the hypocrite government. He read off Netanyahu’s speech from Jerusalem Day, where he promised to pass a bill identical to the bill being proposed today. He called Netanyahu a serial liar who doesn’t care about anything and doesn’t live up to anything he says. He blasted Netanyahu for cutting Jerusalem’s budget and for freezing Jerusalem’s construction. He was told by Netanyahu’s messengers that he should wait a bit longer with the bill. He asked if anyone really believes a word Netanyahu says.

Home-front Defense Minister Vilnai (Independence) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the government plans on proposing their own extensive bill that will be presented by Jerusalem Day of this year.

MK Plesner read off Knesset protocols of Vilnai’s false promises on several bills that Vilnai claimed the government was opposing because of extensive bills that were supposed to be presented at a later date and never were.

Speaker Rivlin interrupted Deputy Speaker Akunis (Likud) and corrected Plesner, who had quoted him out of context. Plesner responded that it doesn’t matter because he still said it.

The bill was defeated 20-33.

Amendment to the Retirement Age Bill

MK Oron (Meretz) explained his amendment would put off the automatic increase in the retirement age of women from 62 to 64 and of men from 65 to 67. His bill proposes a joint public and MK committee to discuss the issue before it takes effect in the beginning of 2012. He thanked Ministers Livnat and Noked, who helped him achieve government support for the bill. He revealed that over the past three days the government changed its mind and he lost government support.

Culture and Sport Minister Livnat got up to kill time until Steinitz returned to the room in order to avoid a vote where the government might lose.

Finance Minister Steinitz explained that he agrees to the committee but disagrees with Oron on who its members should be.

MK Haim Katz (Likud), one of the bill’s co-sponsors and chairman of the Labor Committee, said he made an agreement with MK Oron that if the bill is passed it will not be discussed for seven months in order to give the government time to pass its own version of the bill. Steinitz agreed.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 24-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Amendment to the Rights of Public Housing Tenants Bill

MK Avraham Balila (Kadima) explained that her amendment would grant rights to both sides of a couple who separate and live in public housing. She stated that perhaps if the three different women who were murdered this week had rights, they would have found a way out instead of staying trapped. She thanked the government who finally came to their senses and agreed to support the bill.

Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas) expressed government support for the bill after he revealed that Avraham Balila agreed to bend on some of the articles of the bill and that the government will have their say in the committee.

MK Zeev (Shas) opposed the bill on the grounds that the bill puts the women’s rights over the children’s rights, something which he said is very dangerous as part of an arrangement in which the couple is separated while awaiting divorce. He also noted that, under the bill, the country will lose out financially on couples who have obligations to the government.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 25-0 with MK Zeev abstaining and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.

Tuesday’s session lasted about three hours and fifteen minutes. No bills were discussed. The Knesset celebrated International Women’s Day with a special motion on the topic. It was also the main topic during the one-minute speech segment. MK Tiviaev (Kadima) handed a flower to every women he encountered, and the female MKs brought the flowers in with them to the plenum while they were giving their speeches. In other news, Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) will become a full member of the Funds Committee.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • 19 MKs participated in the one minute speech segment, with International Women’s Day being the main topic.
  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced his committee’s decisions on which disputed bills will be discussed in which committees. He also announced that MK Shama (Likud) will replace MK Wilf (Independence) in the Funds Committee.
  • Speaker Rivlin, Women’s Rights Committee Chairwomen Hotovely (Likud), Minister Livnat (Likud) and 11 other MKs discussed the motion on International Women’s Day. The motion was not voted on.
  • National Infrastructure Minister Landau (Y.B.) answered queries at the end of the session.

Monday’s session lasted about six hours and forty-five minutes. Seven bills were discussed. Four bills became law after passing their third readings, and three bills were advanced after passing their first readings. The long day was highlighted by two of the bills advanced. The first bill would fine those who boycott Israel financially, culturally or academically. The second bill would revoke Israeli citizenship of terrorists and those who spy for the enemy. Both bills were debated in a heated environment by the right and left.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘Netanyahu’s tax burden causes the collapse of the middle and lower classes’ was defeated 42-52 with 26 MKs not present.
  • Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The ongoing failure of handling firefighting in Israel, even after the disaster’ was defeated 42-52 with 26 MKs not present.
  • The three Israeli-Arab parties’ joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The discriminatory policies of the government toward the Arab sector in all areas leading to serious consequences during this time of rapid changes occurring in the region’ was defeated 32-57 with 31 MKs not present.
  • Three new government orders on customs tariffs and purchase tax on goods were passed 45-3, 47-2 and 49-0.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Companies Bill

Law, Constitution and Justice Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) explained that the amendment would add several regulations to the authority of external board members in public companies, including their rights and obligations. Rotem called it a very important bill that will reform all stock market traded companies and bring them up to speed with the rest of the western countries.

The bill passed its second reading 39-1. Minister Begin (Likud) announced he had voted against the bill by mistake. Speaker Rivlin refused to change his vote.

The bill passed its third reading 35-0.

Amendment to the Real-Estate Property Tax Bill

Funds Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) explained that the amendment would force those who purchase a house to register and give a report on their new property and pay the real-estate tax. He stated that included in the bill is an updated list of the tax levels based on the size of the property, as well as an updated list on fines for not registering and reporting a new property.

The bill passed its second reading 28-0.

The bill passed its third reading 27-0.

Amendment to the Parks, Nature Reserves, National Sites and Monuments Bill

Interior and Environment Chairman Azoulay (Shas) explained that the amendment would grant the reimbursement of expenses to members of the Parks Natural Reserves and National Sites Assembly from the Environment Ministry budget, or in other words the taxpayers pocket.

The bill passed its second reading 37-0-1.

The bill passed its third reading 35-0-1.

Prevention of Harming Israel through Boycotts Bill

MK Elkin (Likud) explained that the amendment would define as a crime the financial, cultural or academic boycott of Israel either by a person or a group of people and require those who violate that crime to present financial compensation towards the Israeli citizens or Israeli companies that were harmed as a result of that boycott. He noted that in certain situations the court may ask the boycotters to pay a higher sum than the damage of the boycotts, and in other cases the court may determine a minimum sum if the company boycotted cannot prove how much money they lost as a result of the boycott. He added that the final section of the bill determines that an Israeli private company that boycotts Israel or exempts Judea and Samaria intentionally will be prohibited from receiving any government contracts. He expressed hope that this bill will send a message that Israelis boycotting Israel is not acceptable. He concluded by surprising the MKs present with the information that this bill is almost identical to the current law in the United States, with the exclusion that the punishment in America for these crimes is a five-year jail sentence. He revealed that the United Kingdom has a similar law. This resulted in heckling from MK Oron. Elkin responded that it is about time that Israel stops being the suckers of the world and called on the MKs, especially his Kadima co-sponsors who have caught cold feet, to support the bill.

MK Itzik (Kadima) said that although she supported the bill in the preliminary reading, she wouldn’t vote for or against the bill in this reading. She said that she was disappointed about the changes in the bill that were made in the committee and surprised that the bill is up for a first reading before determining the definition of boycott.

MK Ariel (N.U.) said that he supports the bill. He asked MK Elkin if included in the bill will be those who are boycotting building in Ariel. He asked Deputy Minister Ayalon (Y.B.) if included in this bill will be those who are boycotting building homes for those evacuated from Gush Katif in Ariel. He asked MK Michaeli (Shas) if included in the bill will be those who are boycotting building for the Haredi community in Beitar Ilit. He asked MK Rotem (Y.B.) if included in the bill will be those who are boycotting building in Efrat. He concluded by stating that the Likud is a lost cause and they should go home, because they have failed their voters. He was heckled by MK Oron.

MK Swaid (Hadash) opposed the bill that he said is meant to protect the conquering and occupation of the territories. He said that America doesn’t commit as many war crimes as Israel, and therefore the American law doesn’t make sense here in Israel. He called this bill a witch hunt that violates freedom of expression. He called it a dangerous bill from a dangerous extremist government. He concluded it by calling the bill racist and condemning it.

MK Khenin (Hadash) said that he supports every word that his predecessor said. He spoke out against the fact that the bill protects the settlements and products from settlements. He called on the public not to buy any products from the settlements. He stated that there is a difference between boycotting Israel and boycotting the settlements, and this bill misses that point entirely. He noted this bill is aimed directly at silencing Israeli organizations such as Gush Shalom that have lists online of all products produced in the settlements and calls for boycotting that list. He concluded by stating that a country that harms the rights of its minority is not a true democracy.

MK Agbaria (Hadash) called the bill a settler hallucinatory bill. He noted that Palestinian stores sell Israeli products but not settler products. He called the settlements illegal settlements on illegal land. He called the government extremist. He said that the whole world isn’t against Israel, they are just against the settlements, referring to the United Nations vote in which all of the countries except the United States condemned the settlements.

MK Zahalka (Balad) stated that this bill violates freedom of expression. He stressed this bill will not prevent people from boycotting Israel and it will only prevent them from publicizing the boycott. He stated that this bill is aimed against the Arabs and the Jewish left. He concluded by calling a boycott on Israeli products and by calling MK Elkin a dwarf.

MK Zoabi (Balad) quoted the BBC poll that places Israel as the least popular country in the world for the sixth straight year. She called the bill and the government racist. She said that it is Israel’s policy that results in the punishment of boycotts. She suggested that if Israel stops killing Palestinians, the boycotts might stop. She was heckled in response. She concluded by slamming the government’s policy of demolishing Arab homes.

MK Ganaim (R.T.) stated that he understands from the bill that whoever doesn’t accept Israel’s control on Judea and Samaria must be punished. He called it an outrage and blasted Israel’s attempt to prevent those who oppose the settlements and Israel’s policy of occupying territory from doing so.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) said the bill is an attempt to boycott the boycotters. He stated that the nations of the world will not accept the legitimacy of the occupation and this bill will not change anything. He suggested that Israel boycott Turkey and Iran and see how that goes. He warned that prohibiting passive measures of boycotting will lead to citizens joining terrorist organizations and carrying out attacks against Israelis.

MK Katzeleh (N.U.) stated that boycotting is a negative tactic and stressed he is opposed to boycotting Jews and Arabs alike. He noted that many Palestinians work in the Jewish settlements and industrial areas of Judea and Samaria. He praised them and their work. He went on to blast the Likud for the building freeze in Judea and Samaria. He concluded by expressing his support for the bill.

MK Tibi (R.T.) slammed Israelis for boycotting Turkey then turning around and complaining when someone boycotts them. He warned this bill will cause complications overseas and that is why the foreign ministry is opposing the bill. He noted the Israeli boycott of athletes and celebrities who support Palestinians. He called on the public to keep up the good work of boycotting Israeli products.

MK Oron (Meretz) called the bill a cowardly hypocritical bill. He said boycotting is a kosher and legitimate way of protesting against something. He warned that the Americans don’t want to see us pass the bill into law. He asked why the right is so paranoid and asked what it is they are afraid of.

MK Eldad (N.U.) noted that those who wish to boycott Israel are those who hate Israel, the enemies of Israel. He stated that among us are the loyal messengers of those enemies who are twisted hypocrites and they are poking holes out of the barrel of water from which they drink. He stressed this bill puts a limit to their Arab fascism against buying products from Jews. He wondered if the previous speakers really believed that freedom of expression applies to every single bill they wish to selectively oppose. He revealed that he is proud of the bill, despite the watered down version, and expressed hope that it will be strengthened before it comes up for its next reading. He concluded by praising the clause prohibiting government contracts for those companies that boycott.

MK Schneller (Kadima) called the boycott on Israel a mission to delegitimize Israel, and slammed those who are hiding behind the settlements as the true issue. He stressed that the boycott is on all of Israel, not the settlements, and asked where the patriots are. He called on all the true patriots to support the bill. He stressed that the issue of settlements is for negotiations and not for boycotting. He called on those who oppose the bill to support their country and support the bill. He called on Elkin to find a consensus with those who oppose the bill.

MK Levin (Likud) called this version of the bill a moderate one. He stated that someone who boycotts their own country deserves jail time, not a fine. He asked how MKs who are paid by the taxpayers of Israel can call from this podium to boycott Israel.  He called those MKs pathetic. He said that today we prove that we are no longer suckers by advancing the bill. He warned those who opposed the bill that one day they will have to choose if they are Israelis or Palestinians and stressed that it is impossible to be both.

MK Akunis (Likud) called this bill a just, moral, fair, nationalistic and measured bill. He asked how those who claim this bill is not democratic can do so if America and Britain have the same law. He noted that sometimes the principle of defensive democracy is called for, and this is one of those times. He noted that several MKs have called this bill undemocratic and stressed freedom of expression without looking at the reasons behind the proposal of the bill. He stated that those who oppose this bill risk putting several thousand Arabs out of work in the Barkan industrial area alone, and tens of thousands throughout all of Judea and Samaria. He added that boycotting Jews is how the holocaust in Europe started.  He called those who oppose the bill murderers of democracy and warned that Israel will use all of the legitimate tools of democracy to fight them and win.

MK Abesadze (Kadima) said this bill isn’t just, moral, fair, nationalistic or measured. She called herself a patriot who is against the McCarthyism of this extreme right settler government. She warned this bill will encourage Israelis to boycott the west, the Arabs, the left, and eventually even the right that isn’t extremist enough because they oppose this bill. She asked if Netanyahu, by bringing a peace treaty to Israelis, will be boycotting Israel and be considered a criminal.

MK Zeev (Shas) asked why there are those who support animal rights more than Israeli rights. He asked how people could boycott their own country. He slammed all of those who boycott Israel, such as the United Arab League. He warned that the Palestinian immigration to England will cause Islamic Jihad in 15 years in London. He blasted those who oppose the bill as those who are trying to use democracy against Israel. He condemned those who started boycotting Israel after several soldiers were killed in operation defensive shield in 2002.

MK Cabel (Labor) said that we have a country and shouldn’t worry about those who wish to boycott us. He blasted the original version of the bill that was passed in the preliminary reading, and said that although this version is more moderate, it isn’t moderate enough. He revealed that he doesn’t purchase products from the settlements, so he won’t vote for a bill that would turn him into a criminal. He stated that if the bill is changed to separate a boycott of Israel from a boycott of the conquered settlements in occupied territory, he would vote for it. He warned this bill would critically harm the democratic legitimacy of boycotting settlements.

Deputy Minister Kara (Likud) expressed his support for the bill and praised it. He noted that there is no reason for boycotting Israel, when even Syria purchases Israeli-grown oranges.

Environment Minister Erdan (Likud) expressed government support for the bill. He stressed there will be changes to the bill before it is brought up for its second reading. He said in the committee the MKs will find a balance between freedom of expression and defensive democracy.

The bill passed its first reading 32-12 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

MK El-Sana voted from MK Eichler’s (U.T.J.) seat by mistake. Deputy Speaker Tibi chose to keep the vote as it was and called that vote kosher.

Amendment to the Citizenship Bill

Law, Constitution and Justice Committee Chairman Rotem explained that the amendment would allow the Interior Minister to revoke citizenship if the court convicts a citizen of the following offenses: terrorism, war crimes, aiding and abetting the enemy during war-time, serving in an enemy army, spying against Israel and other offenses along the same lines. He noted international guidelines that state that if a citizen is not loyal to his country, that country may revoke the citizenship of that person. He stressed that under the bill, a person will be stripped of his citizenship but granted the status of a permanent resident, so he won’t be deported. He stated that this is a democratic bill that is law in most western countries. He quoted from the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

MK Swaid asked why Rotem is selectively choosing to adopt this international convention and not the international convention against the occupation of the territories. He asked what good it is to revoke the citizenship of a person who receives a long jail sentence for spying against the State. He spoke out against the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and called it anti-democratic and a violation of the basic right of citizenship that is a right, not a privilege.

MK Zoabi quoted the United States Supreme Court decision that revoking citizenship is worse than execution. She assumed she was speaking to deaf ears because Arabs are enemies and the next bill will call on the courts to execute Arabs. She stated that human rights are considered illegal by this current Knesset. She warned that the Arab citizens are not Zionists and therefore it is almost a matter of time before all of their citizenships are revoked with a bulldozer. She called this a dangerous bill that turns citizenship into a political tool of intimidation. She stated that the Jewish MKs believe that all Arab citizens are threats that must be dealt with.

MK El-Sana stated that in the Jews’ eyes the Arabs don’t deserve their citizenship, and therefore there is no call to oppose this bill. He said that the Arabs were here in this land a long time before the Jews and will be here a long time after the Jews. MK Levin heckled him. El-Sana said that taking away citizenship is worse than cutting off a person’s arm. He called this punishment excessive, since taking rights away from a man in jail is pointless. He stated that the new criminal offenses are all political crimes. He concluded by calling the bill anti-democratic and warned that the Supreme Court will overrule it.

MK Oron said he never heard of this international accord and he opposes the bill. He warned this bill is against Arabs, since slain Prime Minister Rabin’s assassin, Yigal Amir, is not included in this bill. He asked why spying is worse than murder or rape.

MK Zeev warned that in every generation there is an Amalek that wants to destroy us and it is our destiny to defeat Amalek. He noted that any spy convicted should be able to get a citizenship with an enemy State of Israel after his Israeli citizenship is revoked. He slammed the clause that doesn’t call for the deportation of spies and terrorists after their citizenship is revoked. He called on Israel to call the bluff of those who pretend to be loyal to the State.

MK Levin stated that citizenship is a privilege not a right. He asked if the Arab MKs would prefer to move to Palestine after a state is created. When they didn’t answer, he answered for them that it seems they will keep their Israeli citizenship and stay inside Israel. He said there is a direct connection between the offenses listed on the international accord and the loyalty of a citizen to his country. He concluded by calling it a good bill and a fair bill that is in the right place in a Jewish democratic state.

National Infrastructure Minister Landau (Y.B.) responded to MK Oron that Yigal Amir should be executed. He added that this is a country for Jews and not for those who wish to attack Jews. He asked the Balad MKs why they want to be citizens of Israel if they are so busy condemning and boycotting it. MK Zahalka heckled in response, resulting in Landau choosing to express government support for the bill and step down from the podium.

The bill passed its first reading 26-12 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Career Service in the Israel Defense Forces Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) explained that the amendment would ensure that retired career soldiers would not receive a reduction in their pensions if they choose to work as an employee in the government’s various defense departments.

The bill passed its second reading 18-0.

The bill passed its third reading 18-0.

MK Schneller thanked the Knesset for approving his bill, especially Chairman Katz. He thanked all of the retired army soldiers who choose to work in Israel instead of taking more lucrative offers overseas.

Amendment to the Israel Economic Recovery – Achieve Budget Targets for the Economic Policy for the Fiscal Years 2003 and 2004 Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained that the amendment would lift the restriction of a levy for employing a foreign worker from New Zealand. He explained that this bill needs to pass in order for Israel to live up to a mutual agreement that was signed with New Zealand.

The bill passed its first reading 12-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Last Wednesday’s session lasted about eight and a half hours. 10 bills were discussed. Four bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, four were defeated and two were turned into motions to avoid defeat. The bills advanced included incentives for New Zealand foreign workers, creating a framework for disadvantaged at-risk children and forcing the bank to print all of their statements and documents for the elderly in large print. The two bills turned into motions deal with pension benefits for those who did not work 25 years or averaged fewer than nine months of work each year and a prohibition on sending emails while driving. Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch made another appearance in the Knesset to answer additional urgent queries on the Gilad Farm incident.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) answered three urgent queries and Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) answered one at the beginning of the session.
  • Seven motions on the hot topics of the day were discussed. Six of the motions were passed and sent for further discussions in the various Knesset committees by the votes 6-0, 8-0, 8-0, 4-0, 6-0 and 9-0. One of the motions was not voted on and therefore defeated.
  • Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) answered ten queries at the end of the session.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Banking Bill

MK Ilatov (Y.B.) explained that his amendment is a customer service bill. He stated that it would set a minimum font size on all banking papers and statements that are given to an elderly citizen. He hoped that the new size, which will be large print, will enable the elderly to see what is written in their financial documents.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 22-0 and was sent to the Funds Committee.

Amendment to the Israel Economic Recovery Plan Bill

MK Katz (Likud) explained that his amendment to achieve budget targets for the economic policy in fiscal years 2003 and 2004 needs updating after Israel signed a new deal with New Zealand. He explained that the amendment will place a restriction on the levy for employing a foreign worker for New Zealand, thereby enticing New Zealanders to work in Israel.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 29-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Two Amendments to the Youth Bill

MK Levy-Abekasis (Y.B.) explained that her amendment would afford care and supervision for disadvantaged at-risk children by creating a framework that will treat, watch over and serve as a second home for these children. She stated the new framework would serve as an informal education stronghold, as both a supplement for certain children and a system for the 150 children who have been taken out of the public school system by court orders.  These children will be the first to enjoy the benefits of the new framework.

MK Orlev (J.H.) presented his amendment, which is similar but on a smaller scale. He praised MK Levy-Abekasis for proposing a larger, daring bill. He called Levy-Abekasis Levy-Azoulay by mistake twice but wasn’t corrected by Speaker Rivlin.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) expressed government support for the bill and announced there would be 1,000 spaces in the creation of the framework.

MK Zeev (Shas) objected to the bill on the grounds that it severely harms parents’ rights at the expense of strengthening social workers’. He blasted the current system and warned this bill will make things worse. He feared this bill would encourage the courts to kick more children out of their schools and take more children away from their families.

MK Solodkin (Kadima) objected to the bill on the same grounds as MK Zeev and added the bill has too loosely defined “disadvantaged at-risk children”, which she fears will result in terrible outcomes.

MK Levy-Abekasis defended the social workers and noted that parents’ rights are only taken away by court orders. She stated the bill will help children.

The first bill passed its preliminary reading 45-1-1 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

The second bill passed its preliminary reading 43-0-1 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Amendment to the National Insurance Bill/Motion

MK Naffaa (Balad) explained that his amendment would delay the gradual reduction of elderly citizens’ pension allowance for those who did not work more than 25 years or worked for an average of fewer than nine months per year. He stressed that it would help the elderly to give them more time to adapt to the changes.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon said that it is a worthy bill but the government objects to it on the grounds that it can’t afford it. He asked Naffaa to turn the bill into a motion in order to at least save part of it. Naffaa agreed.

The motion passed 33-0 and was sent to the Funds Committee.

Amendment to the National Health Insurance Bill

MK Oron (Meretz) explained that his amendment would exempt a male homemaker from paying national health insurance. He said the current situation in which female homemakers are exempt but males aren’t is absurd.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) said that he agrees with the bill but the government voted against it in the ministerial committee of legislative affairs. He revealed the government position in which the NIS 130 million cost of the bill was the main reason for its objections.

MK Oron expressed his frustration that he won’t ever have a chance to pass the bill again. He reminded Litzman that he plans to retire this month and it saddens him to not have this passed. He concluded by calling for communism within the health ministry services.

The bill was defeated 27-39.

Amendment to the Income Support Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained that her amendment would increase the amount an elderly person or couple is allowed to earn from an income in addition to earning a pension. She stated that the increase of taxes across the board means the government should ease the restriction they place on people who wish to work instead of retiring.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon objected to the bill due to financial constraints. He stated the millions needed to implement this bill just aren’t available.

The bill was defeated 19-35.

Amendment to the Paralympics Bill

MK Yisrael Hasson (Y.B.) explained that his amendment would limit the Head of Benefits and Rehabilitation in the Defense Ministry to a four-year term. He noted that his co-sponsors are Likud MKs. Hasson argued with Prime Minister Netanyahu about the bill for a full ten minutes.

Minister Eitan (Likud) objected to the bill on the grounds that it is a political bill against Defense Minister Barak (Independence).

MK Hasson attacked Ministers Barak and Eitan and screamed at them for five minutes.

Minister Eitan attacked Hasson for his words against him.

The bill was defeated 23-38.

Immigration Bill

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) explained that his original bill would create a new immigration policy that would ensure Israel will stay a Jewish and democratic state. He noted that there are over 400,000 African infiltrators and over 100,000 illegal Palestinians immigrants living in Israel today. He warned that without this bill Israel might lose its Jewish identity within a decade or so. He slammed the current government policy which does not allow for control of its own borders.

Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) said that Eilat has been almost captured by illegal immigrants. He defended his immigration policy and said he is a hawk on fighting against illegal immigration, and is fighting to keep Israel’s Jewish identity. He stated this bill is a small-scale bill and he is preparing a bigger bill that is tougher on illegals.

MK Sheetrit stressed this bill is defending the government and there is no reason to oppose it. He tried to negotiate a compromise with Minister Yishai but was unsuccessful.

The bill was defeated 17-41.

Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance Bill/Motion

MK Tiviaev (Kadima) told the story of a child from his hometown of Ofakim who died in a hit-and-run by a taxi driver. He noted that more people have died on Israel’s roads than in all of the wars combined. He explained that his amendment would prohibit drivers from sending e-mails while driving.

Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) expressed support for the idea but stressed that this subject can be solved without legislation. He agreed to add the prohibition into the ordinance in exchange for changing the bill into a motion and discussing the matter further in committee.

MK Tiviaev agreed but noted that he lacked favoritism, since a similar bill on prohibiting texting while driving was passed as legislation and not as an ordinance. He used the rest of his time to discuss crime in Jerusalem.

The motion passed 11-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Tuesday’s session lasted about two and a half hours. Two bills were discussed and advanced after passing their first readings. The Gilad Farm incident was the hot topic in the one minute speech segment and the Homeland Security Minister’s question hour. The topic arose in the discussion on the two bills of the day as well. The advanced bills will require Russian instructions on pharmaceuticals and prohibit placing cigarette vending machines in public areas.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • 20 MKs participated in the ‘One Minute Speech’ segment with the hot topic being the Gilad Farm incident.
  • 8 MKs participated in a question hour with Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.), during which he defended the police actions in the Gilad Farm incident.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Pharmacists Ordinance Bill

MK Tiviaev (Kadima) explained that his amendment would require adding instructions on all pharmaceuticals in Russian. He noted that he thought of this bill when he saw his own mother’s trouble with her pharmaceuticals.

MK Ariel (N.U.) praised and supported the bill. He concluded by blasting the police for the Gilad Farm shootings. He slammed the government for shooting at their own citizens. He called the situation an outrage and asked the MKs to speak out against it.

MK Ben-Ari (N.U.) praised and supported the bill. He spoke about the importance of Russian aliyah and said they deserve this hug. He went on to condemn the Gilad Farm shootings and said he met with the injured and saw the destruction and devastation that the police left. He blasted the police for destroying the cameras that captured the shootings. He attacked the police for not allowing him to exercise his rights as an MK in the Gilad Farm and for assaulting him. He called on the government to stop firing live bullets at Israeli citizens.

The bill passed its first reading 13-0 and was sent to the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee.

Amendment to the Limitation of the Advertising and Marketing of Tobacco Products Bill

MK Ariel explained that his amendment would prohibit placing cigarette vending machines in public spaces. He confessed that he smoked for 30 years, an addiction that cost him more than NIS 150,000 over that time. He noted the law says that those under 18 are not allowed to smoke; however, they purchase cigarettes from vending machines. He hoped this bill would stop that. He noted that the cigarette vending machine industry employs over 1,000 workers and because of that the bill won’t go into effect until the beginning of 2013. He added that many countries have proposed or passed similar bills over the past few years. He concluded that smoking kills and it is the government’s job to develop smoking prevention legislation.

MK Ben-Ari said that as an educator for over 20 years he supports this bill and stressed it must be passed yesterday. He called smoking an ugly poison and said this bill will take it out of the hands of those who are under 18. He called the bill an educational bill of importance. He concluded that it is better that 1,000 people lose their jobs over 10,000 people who might lose their lives.

MK Zeev (Shas) said that, as the former chairman of the Committee on Drug Abuse, he knows that cigarettes are something from which people can rehabilitate successfully. He blasted the cigarette commercials on television and the internet, including youtube and facebook. He suggested prohibiting cigarette advertising as well, since children surf the internet and watch television.

The bill passed its first reading 8-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Monday’s session lasted about six hours and forty five minutes. Seven bills were discussed. Three bills became law after passing their third readings, and four bills were advanced after passing their first readings. Among those advanced were the Petroleum Profits Tax Bill, also known as the Sheshinski Bill, and a bill that would prohibit the selling of fur, which would be the first such bill passed around the globe. The highlight among the new laws is the creation of a national bone marrow donor system. Three no-confidence motions were defeated earlier in the day.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘Netanyahu increases the gaps in Israel hurting the middle class section of the population’ was defeated 34-53 with 33 MKs not present.
  • Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The Israeli government is untrustworthy because of deterioration in State education, overcrowding in classrooms, the decline in student achievement and raising the parents’ payments to new heights’ was defeated 33-53 with 34 MKs not present.
  • The three Israeli-Arab parties’ no-confidence motion titled ‘Continuing Israeli blockade on Gaza’ was defeated 8-57-1 with 54 MKs not present.
  • Speaker Rivlin eulogized Palmach fighter and journalist Netiva Ben-Yehuda, who passed away last week.
  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced that Kadima MKs Whbee and Tirosh will switch their positions in the Funds Committee. From now on Tirosh will be a permanent member and Whbee will be a substitute.
  • Education Minister Sa’ar announced the transfer of certain powers from the Veterans ministry to the Education ministry.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Supervision of Financial Services Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) explained the amendment would add a long list of regulations in order to supervise the pension consulting and pension marketing industries. He noted this bill was split off from the Arrangements Bill so his committee could spend a few more months tweaking it before its final readings. He concluded by praising the bill and stated that this bill will protect the public.

MK Oron (Meretz) praised the final version of the bill and blasted the previous version that was part of the Arrangements Bill. He blasted the Arrangements Bill as a whole.

MK Levy-Abekasis (Y.B.) praised the bill and thanked MKs Katz and Oron, who gave her a helpful crash course on the complicated subject of pension regulations in Israel.

MK Swaid (Hadash) praised the bill but blasted the neo-liberal economic programs of the capitalistic government. He went on to pitch communism as the most socially just economic system.

MK Khenin (Hadash) praised the bill but criticized Israel’s steady adoption of western capitalistic policies. He stated that Israel’s economy was headed in a better direction in its earlier years and called on the government to return to those days.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) praised the bill and thanked all of the MKs who chose to withdraw their objections to the bill.

The bill passed its second reading 36-0.

The bill passed its third reading 38-0.

Petroleum Profits Tax Bill/ The Sheshinski Bill

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen started presenting the bill because Finance Minister Steinitz was nowhere to be found. Cohen stalled to prevent the bill from being voted down until Steinitz entered the plenum and switched him. The opposition MKs heckled and spoke out against the tactic.

Finance Minister Steinitz (Likud) said that when he entered his position over two years ago he was told that Israel receives fewer taxes from its natural resources than most countries and ranks last among the western and modern countries. He explained the problem started with the fact that the government share of revenues from its natural resources such as natural gas or oil was over 50% in the 1950s when the company tax was about 50%, and as the company tax was reduced over the last 50 years to less than 20%, so did the government’s share. He said other countries dealt with this problem by raising or creating new taxes on natural resources, while Israel remained the only country not to follow suit. Steinitz explained that, under the old tax system, even large natural gas deposits would leave the country with only a small government share. He stated that as a response he asked international natural resources expert and Hebrew University Professor Eytan Sheshinski to chair a committee that met for nine months and resulted in this bill. He said that Sheshinski is fearless and told a story from Sheshinski’s youth in which he beat up a grizzly bear with a stick to get back his bag in Yosemite Park in the U.S. He stressed that Sheshinski found the balance between the government’s share and the profits for the companies that found the natural resources, in order to encourage more companies to discover more natural resources. He noted the average government share in the OECD countries is around 60% and that the Sheshinski Bill will raise the Israeli share to between 56%-57%. He concluded by saying the new tax will allow Israel to raise the budget on education and welfare.

MK Oron supported the bill and appreciated Steinitz’s speech. He noted that as a socialist he would prohibit the private companies from having anything to do with natural resources and have the State control all of it, but he is willing, in the current political climate, to support the bill the way it is until he is appointed finance minister.

MK Khenin supported the bill and praised Steinitz. He blasted the lobbyists and the private companies that hired them. He stressed that he expected a lot more from the bill, mainly in regards to the government playing a bigger role at the expense of the gas and oil tycoons. He concluded by saying Israel should give the companies their money back and develop its own natural resources.

MK Swaid supported the bill and blasted the lobbyists and the gas and oil tycoons who hired them. He slammed the idea that private companies will have any sort of contact with the countries natural resources.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) said that God intervened by allowing us to find the natural gas deposits now, as Egypt’s and Libya’s natural resources are slowly destroyed. He blasted an MK who said if the money goes to the Haredim it would be better if we didn’t use the gas at all.

MK Zeev (Shas) blasted the bill and supported the private companies that invested billions of dollars to discover the resources. He told the government they are ungrateful and should be ashamed of themselves. He noted without these companies the government wouldn’t get anything and stressed that changing the rules in the middle of the game isn’t democratic. He blasted the government for giving up the search for natural resources in the 1980s after determining there weren’t any left to be found and asked why the government should ask for a bigger share today. He concluded by comparing the situation to a person winning the lottery and then being told by the government that he might have won the lottery, but they are taking away his monetary prize. He called this a bad bill that will hurt the country.

MK Bar-On (Kadima) praised the Israeli film on the children of Sudanese refugees going to school in Tel Aviv that won an Oscar. He went on to blast the bill and support the private companies that discovered the natural resources. He said that as a former finance minister he disagrees with Steinitz’s numbers and analysis. He concluded by praising capitalism and slammed Oron’s socialism and Khenin’s communism.

MK Majadele (Labor) supported the bill and blasted those who opposed it, calling them hypocrites. He said this bill is good for the public and that is what is important.

MK Cabel (Labor) supported the bill and Steinitz. He warned the fight in the committee is ahead of us, and the bill might change before it is passed.

MK Maklev (U.T.J.) thanked God that we have this subject to argue about. He said that he supports the bill presented by the finance minister but agrees with some of former finance minister Bar-On’s concerns and hopes there will be some compromises in the committee.

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) supported the government over the private companies, which resulted in heckling from his colleague MK Bar-On. Sheetrit stressed that this bill is a good idea.

MK Ariel (N.U.) noted that the bill is not retroactive and will apply only to future discoveries. He questioned who exactly falls into the grey area of those who invested in discovering gas or oil, but have not started refining it. He summarized by stating the grey area is what people are arguing over and suggested in the committee that these decisions are made black and white.

MK Yacimovich (Labor) blasted the gas and oil tycoons and attacked their lobbyists and high-powered friends throughout the Israeli media. She said much has changed since the 1952 bill and this much needed update must be passed as soon as possible. She noted that the bill is not retroactive, as MK Ariel did. She accused Kadima of flanking Likud on the right with their support for the gas tycoons.

MK Wilf (Independence) praised the bill and the natural gases that will grant Israel energy independence. She stressed the importance of energy independence on our economy.

MK Shama (Likud) supported Sheshinski, his committee and the bill they presented. He praised Steinitz for supporting Sheshinski over the tycoons and their lobbyist army.

Finance Minister Steinitz revealed that, as a former philosophy professor, he does not understand the logic of those who oppose the bill on the grounds that Israeli citizens do not have the right to benefit from their own natural resources. He thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for supporting the bill and the philosophy behind the bill. He stressed there is no retroactive part of this bill.

The bill passed its first reading 36-8-1 and was sent to the House Committee to decide whether the Finance or Funds Committee will discuss the bill.

Amendment to the Employment of Women Bill

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) explained that the amendment would allow the full rights to adoptive and foster parents that new mothers receive today, such as maternity leave.

The bill passed its first reading 19-0 and was sent to the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee.

Amendment to the Pharmacists Ordinance Bill

Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) explained that the amendment would extend the temporary provision of the protection of confidential information disclosed in medical cases for another five years.

MK Ariel supported the bill and went on to ask the ministers present to speak out against the shooting of Israeli citizens in the Gilad Farm by the Israeli police. He asked them to prevent the next occurrence of such an incident.

The bill passed its first reading 13-0 and was sent to the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee.

Amendment to the Proposed Wildlife Protection Bill

Environment Minister Erdan (Likud) explained that the amendment would prohibit hunting animals for sport and the import of all fur products and increase the punishment for poisoning animals or throwing out one’s pets into the street or open spaces. He noted that fur products for religious purposes will be allowed under the new bill. MK Cabel heckled him on that point. Erdan defended the decision saying that the State shouldn’t suppress religious freedom.

MK Hotoveli (Likud) said she was embarrassed to be a coalition MK on the day of the Gilad Farm shootings and compared them to the Amona fiasco of 2006. She blasted the policemen who wore ski masks while shooting their citizens, treating them like convicted terrorists.

MK Zeev said he cried when he saw that this bill grants more rights to animals than the citizens of Gilad Farm received when they were lined up and shot at 4:30 AM. He noted that streimels might be prohibited under the bill that is being discussed, and he blasted the vague bill.

MK Ariel praised the bill and said that the bill exists in the bible as part of the commandment of not harming animals. He praised MKs Hotoveli and Zeev’s speeches. He asked how Israeli citizens could receive the same bullets that were shot and killed several men on the Mavi Marmara ship of the Turkish flotilla. He stressed that the Gilad Farm shootings were worse than Amona.

MK Gafni (U.T.J.) noted that several countries have forbidden “shechita” because they feel it violates animal rights. Gafni asked why Israel should be the first country to prohibit fur, considering it might encourage other countries to adopt the bill but without the clause that allows fur for religious reasons. He also suggested we care for our own citizens before we care for our animals.

The bill passed its first reading 14-0 with 2 MKs abstaining and was sent to the Interior and Environment Committee.

Amendment to the National Insurance Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the amendment would correct the current system in which a person who serves fewer than 75 days of military reserve duty receives his payment from his employer. He announced the new system would have the money transferred directly to soldier without the employer acting as a middleman. He added this system would be enforced for those who serve more than seven days per year, as opposed to 75 as was the case previously. Katz expressed regret that the bill won’t take affect for those who serve for seven or fewer days as was outlined when the bill passed its first reading.

The bill passed its second reading 11-0.

The bill passed its third reading 12-0.

MK Cabel thanked everyone who helped him pass the bill he sponsored earlier in the term.

Prescription Bone Marrow Donors Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the bill would create a national bone marrow donor system, including a bone marrow donor bank. He noted that there are three private bone marrow donor banks in Israel and that they are quite expensive. He announced that by creating a national bank this bill will allow the “average Joe” to find an appropriate affordable solution. He added that the police and court system will not be allowed to access the information in the national bank and use it against Israel’s citizens. He thanked his assistants for helping him with the bill.

The bill passed its second reading 10-0.

The bill passed its third reading 10-0.

MK Orlev (J.H.), who co-sponsored the bill, thanked a long list of people including his assistants who helped him along the journey of the past five years that it took to pass this bill. He noted this bill will save between 150-160 lives each year. He called this bill the most important and historic of all the 50+ bills that he has passed in his career as an MK.

MK Bielski (Kadima), who co-sponsored the bill, said that if this is the only bill that he ever passes he will consider his tenure as an MK successful. He thanked Orlev for pressing everyone to pass the bill and Netanyahu for approving the budget to implement the bill.

Last Wednesday’s session lasted about ten hours. Nine bills were discussed. Two bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, four were defeated and three were turned into motions in order to avoid defeat. The headline of the day was Netanyahu voting against his bill from the previous term that would grant full citizen rights to settlers in Judea and Samaria, and Netanyahu accidentally voting against his own speech in the 40-MK discussion.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) revealed the new breakdown of which MKs will represent the Labor party in the various committees. MK Cabel will serve on the House and Defense and Foreign Affairs Committees. MK Yacimovich will serve on the Funds and Labor, Welfare and Health Committees. MK Peretz will serve on the Finance Committee. MK Braverman will serve on the Interior and Environment Committee. MK Herzog will serve on the Law, Constitution and Justice Committee. MK Ben Simon will serve on the Women’s Rights, Science and Technology, and Immigration and Absorption Committees. He announced the following substitutes for the Labor party: MK Herzog on the House and Defense and Foreign Affairs Committees, MK Majadele on the Funds Committee, MK Braverman on the Finance Committee and MK Cabel on the Law, Constitution and Justice Committee. He also announced the six committees in which the lone non-minister Independence MK Wilf will represent her party. They are the House, Funds, Defense and Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Absorption, State Comptroller, and Science and Technology Committees. He announced that MK Pinyan (Likud) will be a substitute in the Defense and Foreign Affairs, Science and Technology, and Immigration and Absorption Committees. MK Levin will be a substitute in the Funds and State Comptroller Committees. MK Elkin (Likud) will be a substitute in the Education, Culture and Sport Committee. MK Hotovely (Likud) will be a substitute in the House Committee. MK Abesadze (Kadima) will be a substitute in the House, Finance, and Interior and Environment Committees. MK Zeev (Shas) will replace MK Amsellem (Shas) as a substitute in the Law, Constitution and Justice Committee. All of the measures were approved by a single 7-1 vote.
  • A discussion requested by 40 MKs on the topic of the “Netanyahu Government’s failure in the political, economic and social sectors” took place. 16 MKs spoke, followed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Livni. A number of Kadima MKs were thrown out of the plenum during the heated debate. The Knesset approved Netanyahu’s speech 46-33, even though Netanyahu accidentally voted against it.
  • Three motions were discussed. A motion on Education Minister Sa’ar’s (Likud) program for students’ class trips to Hebron was discussed by four MKs and the minister himself and was defeated 6-8. A motion on the cuts across the board in the government offices was discussed by four MKs and Finance Minister Steinitz and was sent to the Funds Committee for further discussion. A motion on the PA request to the UN Security Council and the U.S. veto was discussed by five MKs and Minister Steinitz and was defeated 4-5.
  • Transportation Minister Katz (Likud), Education Minister Sa’ar and Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon (Y.B.) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session. Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon answered additional queries at the end of the session.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Joint Investment Trust Law

MK Pinyan (Likud) explained that his amendment would require public joint investment companies to publish a prospectus in the newspaper when they are formed.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 22-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Entry into Israel Law

MK Azoulay (Shas) explained that his amendment would establish a committee chaired by a retired judge that would allow, in certain humanitarian cases, employing a foreign worker in the field of nursing beyond the original departure date. He added that certain elderly people who have foreign private nurses and are near death are forced to get a new nurse for the last few months of their life because the previous nurse’s visa expired. He expressed hope the new committee would correct the situation.

Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 41-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Planning and Construction Bill/Motion

MK Whbee (Kadima) explained that his amendment would promote speeding up the authorization for receiving building and planning permits in areas where there is a high concentration of illegal housing. He stated that these areas have a legal housing shortage and therefore have resorted to illegal building. He hoped this would encourage people to build houses legally, as opposed to taking the law into their own hands. He noted the Druze community, which he represents, has a severe housing shortage and said this bill is a necessary step to correct it.

Interior Minister Yishai opposed the bill on the grounds that this bill will encourage illegal building and hurt the public. He stated the government is looking into various solutions to the housing shortage and have a number of government bills currently being discussed in Knesset committees. He suggested turning the bill into a motion.

MK Whbee blasted the government, who haven’t authorized any building in the Druze community for over a decade. Whbee agreed to turn the bill into a motion.

The motion passed 83-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Public Housing Tenants Rights Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained that her amendment would entitle free public housing for all new immigrants.

Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas) opposed the bill on the grounds that the bill discriminates against Israeli citizens who are not immigrants. He attacked the idea that new immigrants or older immigrants should receive public housing over regular Israeli citizens.

MK Solodkin said the subject isn’t the equality of all Israeli citizens. She stressed that the current situation discriminates against new immigrants and discourages people from making aliyah.

The bill was defeated 26-37.

Amendment to the Population Registry Bill

MK Oron (Meretz) explained that his amendment would change the definition of who is considered a Jew on a teudat zehut (national identification document) in the interior ministry. In the new definition conservative and reform Jews and their converts would be defined as Jewish.

Interior Minister Yishai opposed the bill on the grounds that the conservative and reform Jews are not Jewish therefore there is no reason to change the definition of who is Jewish.

MK Oron said that there are hundreds of thousands of citizens who view themselves as Jewish and he feels strongly that they deserve to be considered Jewish.

The bill was defeated 3-54.

Amendment to the Compulsory Education Bill

MK Barakeh (Hadash) explained that his amendment would exempt all parents from mandatory payments for their children’s education, including school books and field trips.

Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) opposed the bill on the grounds that it would cost over NIS 1 billion annually to implement.

MK Barakeh warned that there will be students who are discriminated against and will not attend to their studies as a result.

The bill was defeated 15-34-1.

Amendment to the Retirement Age Bill/Motion

MK Ganaim (R.T.) explained his amendment would slowly start lowering the retirement age for teachers.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) opposed the bill on the grounds that 60 is a respectable retirement age. He added that certain applicants can file for early retirement at the age of 50 if they meet certain criteria. He concluded that other jobs that are more demanding than teaching do not receive such benefits. He asked Ganaim to turn the bill into a motion, and Ganaim agreed.

The motion passed 25-0 and was sent to the Education Committee.

Amendment to the Law and Administration Ordinance Bill

MK Katzeleh (N.U.) explained that his amendment would begin the application of Israeli law in Jewish cities, regional councils and local councils within Judea and Samaria effective immediately. He explained that he first brought up this bill a year ago and the government has postponed the vote ever since by making false promises. Katzeleh asked that MK Ariel finish presenting the bill because he was sick and hoarse and no one could hear him. Speaker Rivlin authorized the request.

MK Ariel (N.U.) clarified that the bill would apply Israeli law to the recognized Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria but would not apply Israeli law to the open areas, the Palestinian-controlled areas or the rest of Judea and Samaria. He spent a great deal of time quoting verses from the Torah (Bible) which mention the various Jewish settlements that are included in the bill, such as Hebron, Bet-El, Shiloh and Rachel’s tomb. He cited several historical links between the settlements and Jewish history including the British Balfour Declaration of 1917. MK Zahalka (Balad) heckled Ariel as he discussed the history of the six day war in 1967. After the long history lesson, he went on to list the ministers and MKs who co-sponsored this identical bill three years ago, including the main sponsor at the time, Prime Minister Netanyahu. Some of the other co-sponsors from three years ago include current Ministers Edelstein, Eitan, Erdan, Kahlon, Katz, Livnat, Landver, Misezhnikov, Margi, Sa’ar, Steinitz and Shalom; current Deputy Ministers Cohen and Litzman; Speaker Rivlin; current coalition MKs Ilatov, Orlev, Azoulay, Elkin, Amsellem, Gafni, Vaknin, Zeev, Cohen, Katz, Michaeli, Miller, Rotem, and Shemtov; and Kadima MK Yisrael Hasson. He said that citizens who pay taxes, serve the army and fulfill all their civil duties must be given full rights as a citizen, as opposed to the current law that requires them to stand trial in military courts. He called the current situation not worthy, not fair, not democratic, not Jewish and without integrity. He noted that most of the ministers who were asked to present the government position on the bill refused to do so, and he called on them to support the bill.

Minister Begin (Likud) agreed that the government pushed off the decision on this bill for too long. He announced that he and all of the ministers decided to vote against this bill. Begin agreed that Alon Moreh and Bet-El are part of our Jewish heritage. He said that the population in Judea and Samaria has reached 350,000 people without this bill, and he expects the numbers to grow beyond that mark without this bill as well. MKs Ben-Ari and Hotovely heckled Begin from the right and MKs Bar-On, Shai, Tibi, Barakeh and Yoel Hasson heckled him from the left. MK Ben-Ari was removed from the plenum after being called to order three times. Begin concluded that this bill will not be passed until a peace agreement is signed with the Palestinians.

MK Ariel and Minister Begin shared a few words by the podium. Speaker Rivlin called on them to save it for his chambers, where they were both invited for after the bill was voted on. Ariel revealed that Begin attacked him for accusing the government of being immoral and inhumane by opposing the bill. Ariel responded that it is immoral and inhumane that Begin has more rights as a citizen than Ariel’s wife and children because Ariel lives in Judea and Samaria. Ariel went on to attack Likud and Yisrael Beitenu, who promised big things for Judea and Samaria during the election campaign and are opposing this bill. He attacked the government for applying a building freeze by not approving one building in Judea and Samaria since they took power two years ago. He asked if any of the ministers knows if there is one other country in the world that prohibits Jews from building homes. He noted that not one minister or MK stood up, because the answer is clear. He concluded by attacking the government for prohibiting Jews from visiting the temple mount. He asked his co-sponsors to vote in favor of the bill. Among the current co-sponsors of the bill from the coalition were Likud MKs Levin, Hotovely, Elkin, Danon, Regev, Shama and Pinyan; Yisrael Beitenu MKs Rotem, Miller, Kirshenbaum, Amar, Michaeli, Matalon and Levy-Abekasis; Shas MKs Vaknin, Michaeli, Azoulay, Amsellem, Cohen and Zeev; United Torah Judaism MKs Maklev and Moses; and Jewish Home MK Orbach. None of them voted for the bill, but all were either absent or refused to participate in the vote.

40 MKs from the opposition requested a roll-call to embarrass Netanyahu. Only 20 of the 66 coalition MKs attended the vote and opposed the bill; the other 46 MKs were scared off by the roll-call and the cameras that were set up in the audience.

Netanyahu, Likud ministers Edelstein, Eitan, Erdan, Begin, Ya’alon, Kahlon, Livnat, Meridor, Sa’ar, Peled and Steinitz and Speaker Rivlin opposed the bill. Independence Ministers Vilnai, Noked and Simhon and MK Wilf also opposed the bill. The Degel Hatorah party of the United Torah Judaism faction, MKs Gafni and Maklev, opposed the bill. Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon also opposed the bill. The opposition’s 29 MKs who opposed the bill waited to vote until the second and third roll-calls in order to pressure the 20 coalition MKs who opposed the bill to search for their missing colleagues. The 4 National Union MKs were the only MKs to vote for the bill.

The bill was defeated 4-49 with 67 MKs not present.

Protecting the Rights of Israeli Citizens Where Israeli Law Does Not Apply Bill/Motion

MK Zeev (Shas) explained that his bill would prohibit the State from evicting by force settlers from their homes. He stated the bill requires Israel to follow the human rights requirements of the United Nations when it comes to evicting a population from their property, such as not throwing a person out of his house by force and when he does not have a different place to live.

Minister Begin expressed government opposition to the bill and explained that he came to an agreement with MK Zeev that the bill would be turned into a motion.

The motion passed 8-1 and will be discussed further in the plenum.

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