Archive for December, 2011


Wednesday’s Knesset session lasted four hours. Nine bills were discussed. 17 bills were on the agenda, but Speaker Rivlin ruled that the session must end by 3 PM no matter what in order to allow the MKs to return home to light Hanukah candles for the second night. Five bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, two were defeated and two were withdrawn in order to avoid defeat. The bills advanced will force banks to inform customers of the history of an account they are joining into, limit the number of times a school book can be updated in a decade, extend credit card benefit programs, grant those who quit their job to join national service their severance package and apply technical changes to a Holocaust survivor bill.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* Interior Minister Yishai (Shas), Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud), Homefront Defense Minister Vilnai (Independence) and Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.

* Finance Committee Chairman Shama presented the request of the joint subcommittee of the Finance and the Education, Culture and Sport Committees to split a bill into two. Seven MKs spoke to give their positions on the splitting of the bill. The bill was split after a 44-25 vote.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) explained his amendment would expand the term “child” for a survivor’s insurance purposes to include children who don’t go to university. He said that in certain cases ultra-orthodox children can’t receive their parents’ insurance if they didn’t go through the Israeli state school system. He stressed that this bill will correct the problem and he has agreed to postpone the vote on the bill for a few weeks in order to gain government support. Shas Faction Manager Jacobson noted that MK Michaeli (Shas) had a similar bill and requested that he be able to present it. Speaker Rivlin denied the request.

Amendment to the Checks without Cover Bill

MK Shemtov (Y.B.) explained her amendment would force the banks to inform a customer who is joining an existing bank account to disclose to the new holder all of the information that is tied to that account.

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

The bill passed its preliminary reading 32-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the State Education Bill

MK Ariel (N.U.) explained his amendment would direct the Education Minister to monitor the price of school textbooks and present him tools to limit the number of updated editions of a textbook every decade.

Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) praised MK Ariel and expressed government support for the bill. He stated he plans to pass a school book reform that will lower the prices drastically.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 38-0 and was sent to the Education Committee.

Amendment to the Limitations on Consumer Benefit Programs Bill

MK Cabel (Labor) explained his amendment would extend the credit card benefit programs in order to allow more time for people to utilize their stars and points. He added that the amendment would prohibit sales programs that don’t allow reasonable time for the consumer to utilize their rewards.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 28-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Victims of Nazi Persecution Bill

MK Bielski (Kadima) explained his amendment would change the wording of the law that outlines the eligibility for receiving compensation. He said the words would be changed in order to bring justice and have respect for Holocaust survivors in the bill.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 36-0 and was sent to the Funds Committee.

Amendment to the Severance Pay Bill

MK Shai (Kadima) explained the amendment would enable someone who needs to hand in their resignation due to voluntary service to receive their severance pay. He said that if someone chooses to volunteer for their country they shouldn’t be penalized.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 46-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

Amendment to the Equal Opportunities Bill

MK Zoabi (Balad) explained her amendment would prohibit the discrimination of those who were not in military service. She slammed those who post on employment advertisements that for jobs such as waitressing army service is a necessary requirement. She went on to blast the Israeli army. She said that the connection between the army and business is wrong and must be abolished. She called on Israelis to boycott any business that requires army experience for a job. She thanked the Arabs, pacifists and the ultra-orthodox for supporting her bill.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the bill already protects discrimination on the basis of nationality or religion. He said this amendment could limit the implementation of the bill by stressing this one point. He revealed that this will probably be his last term as an MK unless Shas decides to allocate a spot for a secular Jew.

The bill was defeated 4-35.

Amendment to the Press Ordinance Bill 

MK Khenin (Hadash) explained his amendment would revoke certain paragraphs in the Press Ordinance Bill, which has been in place since the British Mandate more than 80 years ago. He said that the Interior ministry would no longer be able to approve licenses for newspapers under the changes and would no longer be allowed to close a newspaper down. He said it would turn Israel into a real democracy that really has a free press. He went on to blast the government for opposing freedom of the press.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that repealing the paragraphs without replacing them with new Israeli laws would harm the checks and balances within Israeli democracy. He said that this government won’t harm democracy by supporting this bill.

MK Khenin said that the Press Ordinance is not democratic and it is the government who is deciding to side with anti-democratic British mandate laws.

The bill was defeated 6-13 with 2 MKs abstaining.

Amendment to the Value Added Tax Bill

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) explained his amendment would eliminate VAT on gasoline tax. He said that a tax on a tax is wrong and must be abolished. He noted that the government could increase one tax without needing to divide the tax between two taxes. He said that he is postponing the vote on the bill in order to gain government support.

Tuesday’s Knesset session lasted three hours. Two bills were discussed and advanced after passing their first readings. The Tuesday session started early because of Hanukah, and the Speaker announced it must end no matter what at 3 PM to enable the Knesset members to make it home in time to light the first Hanukah candle. The bills advanced will provide consumers with a monthly report from the bank of all of their expenses and will raise city taxes in order to increase the municipal security guard force and their authority.

Non-Bills Summary

* 17 MKs spoke during the one minute speech segment that opened the day.

* Hasbara Minister Edelstein (Likud) answered six queries during a question hour.

Bills Summary

 

Amendment to the Consumer Protection Bill

MK Maklev (U.T.J.) explained his amendment would force the banks to send a report to their customers with the details of every ongoing transaction payment. He said that many expenses are monthly expenses and this will help consumers look at all of them on one page. He stated that this bill will help consumers compare their expenses from month to month and from year to year. He noted that the bank will also add to the report if there is an outstanding monthly expense, in order to help the consumer realize what he has not yet paid for, as well as help the consumer realize if a company is still charging for a service that has been cancelled.

MK Majadele (Labor) supported and praised the bill. He said this bill will allow the consumer to view all of his expenses in one place and will lead to him reducing unnecessary consumption. He went on to talk about the gaps between the rich and the poor.

MK Levin (Likud) supported and praised the bill. He said this is the easiest way to introduce consumer responsibility and will ultimately lower the prices in the marketplace. He said the most important part of the bill is that this piece of paper will be now be a source of proof for the consumer towards the companies who wish to take money from him, sometimes unjustly.

The bill passed its first reading 11-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Municipalities Ordinance Bill

Hasbara Minister Edelstein explained the amendment would increase the authority for municipalities’ security guards to maintain public order. He noted that this will replace a series of existing temporary orders that basically say the same exact thing and will make these changes final in the regular law. He noted that the police support this bill, and the changes will take effect January 1.

MK Zeev (Shas) talked about the mob and organized crime. He said that although this bill might be a good one, the government should be focusing on combating the rise of organized crime. He disagreed with the decision that city taxes will be increased in order to meet the budget needs of the bill. He said that this bill could cost the citizens a lot of money.

MK Molla (Kadima) said that this is another indirect tax on the Israeli people and expressed his opposition to all indirect taxes. He insisted that this tax should not fall on the citizens and should instead come from the state budget. He said that although he is against the bill, he will support it because Kadima supports it. Speaker Rivlin asked what the difference is between citizens paying for the service through the state or municipal budget. Molla said that after the social justice protests it is irresponsible to introduce a new tax, even if it is a necessary tax to provide important services.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) talked about the victims of the Carmel fire. He went on to talk about the crime of illegal immigrants and asked if this bill will solve that problem. He noted that the Tel Aviv police can’t deal with the illegal immigrant crime and he assumed this bill will do nothing to solve that problem. He said despite this, he will support the bill.

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) said this bill is a bad bill. He said that most cities are dealing with a wave of robberies and this bill doesn’t solve that problem. He said that instead the city raises its taxes and burdens its citizens. He called on the government to raise the number of police and to increase its funding.

The bill passed its first reading 6-2 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

MK Sheetrit equated the uprising of the Maccabees against the Greeks as a small nation defeating the United States today. He noted that the Jews who joined the Greeks are gone and it was the descendents of Jews who fought the Greeks that rebuilt Israel over the last century and remain the Jews of today.

Monday’s Knesset session lasted about four hours. Six bills were discussed. Two bills became law after passing their third readings, and four were advanced after passing their first readings. The new laws provide widows of fallen soldiers from before 1999 with a one-time grant of NIS 100,000 and force the Speaker to report on the Knesset’s budget to the House Committee half-way through the budget year. The three no-confidence motions were defeated.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The helplessness of the Netanyahu government in the face of increasing violence and extremism in Israeli society’ was defeated 35-50 with 35 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The government’s inability to enforce law in the territories that brought hooliganism against IDF soldiers, Palestinians and leftists’ was defeated 34-52 with 34 MKs not present.

* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘Establishing a checkpoint by Shuafat and the decision to close the Mughrabi Bridge’ was defeated 9-51 with 4 MKs abstaining and 56 MKs not present.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Payment of Pensions to Reserve Soldiers and their Families Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) explained the amendment would present the widow or parents of a fallen soldier from before 1999 a one-time grant of NIS 100,000 over two installments in 2012 and 2013. He expressed regret that 224 orphans will not receive this grant because both of their parents are dead. He slammed Defense Minister Barak and the defense establishment and vowed that he will submit a bill to help those 224 orphans. He stated that this group of widows was discriminated against because widows of soldiers fallen after 1999 receive a monthly pension and until this bill widows from before 1999 have received nothing.

MK Eldad (N.U.) said that these widows have fought for their rights for over a decade. He expressed regret that they will only receive partial compensation for their loss and said they should have been allowed to receive a pension as well.

The bill passed its second reading 64-0.

The bill passed its third reading 66-0.

Amendment to the Antitrust Bill

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) explained the amendment would increase monetary sanctions on those who violate antitrust and monopoly laws. He said the current sanctions are not strong enough and the new sanctions will help Israel meet the OECD standards for antitrust laws.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) slammed the press for the increasing incitement against the ultra-orthodox and Opposition Leader Livni for speaking out against the public that he represents.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) attacked Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the one year anniversary of the Carmel Fire. He charged that Netanyahu’s office forced the host of the evening to read off of a piece of paper praising the Prime Minister. He said that today Israel acted just like North Korea.

MK Levin (Likud) agreed with Deputy Speaker Akunis (Likud) that MK Hasson was inciting against the Prime Minister and that his speech had nothing to do with the bill at hand. He disagreed with the Deputy Speaker that this matter should be sent to the Ethics Committee, citing the MK’s freedom of expression.

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

Amendment to the Prohibition of Money Laundering Bill

Deputy Minister Shalom (Likud) defended MK Hasson and his words. He went on to explain that the amendment would update the regulation and sanctions on money laundering in order to meet the new international standards. He added that the amendment would also update the regulation and sanctions on money laundering for terrorism purposes as proposed by the Financial Action Task Force. MK Hasson made sure to heckle what he called a ‘North Korean dictatorship’.

MK Eichler recalled the infamous 11-hour filibuster speech of MK Eitan from the budget discussion of 1992, which was in its entirety on topic. He went on to blast Hasson for calling Israel North Korea and said that Israel still allows MKs to speak their will from the Knesset podium. He went on to blast anyone who incites against the ultra-orthodox. He said it is his public’s right to protest against the government or the Supreme Court for inciting against them and called on his public to do so.

MK Zeev (Shas) supported the bill. He said that today MK Hasson should be memorializing those who lost their lives in the Carmel fire and not playing political games with Netanyahu.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) drew a parallel between the Greeks of Hanukah and Israel’s enemies of today. He read several paragraphs from the book of the Maccabees.

The bill passed its first reading 24-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Foundations of the Budget Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin explained his amendment would require the Speaker to report to the House Committee half-way through a budget year on the implementation of the Knesset’s budget. He expressed hope this would help the Speaker utilize all of the funds that were approved for the Knesset.

The bill passed its second reading 15-0.

The bill passed its third reading 13-0.

Amendment to the Knesset Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin explained the amendment would match the Knesset Bill with Basic Law: The Knesset and the Knesset Elections Bill. He said that the Knesset Bill has some outdated clauses that should be repealed in order to match the other two bills. He reported that the Hadash party has expressed concerns over the amendment and those concerns will be discussed in committee. He noted the government has decided not to intervene on this bill because it is an internal Knesset matter.

The bill passed its first reading 14-0 and was sent to the House Committee.

Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance Bill

MK Bielski (Kadima) explained his amendment would force every company vehicle to have a sticker with a phone number that allows drivers to report bad drivers to the company. He said that the company must create a tracking system for these bad drivers and take them off the road after repeated complaints. He stressed that the 27,340 policemen in Israel are overworked, and the country needs at least 50,000 policemen. He said that having more policemen would change the driving culture in Israel, but until that happens the citizens should act as policemen and complain about bad drivers to their companies. He noted that this bill will also apply to MKs.

MK Zeev (Shas) supported and praised the bill. He defended his record for the annual most speeches given from the podium ‘award’, which he wins every year. He disagreed with the clause that would force MKs to follow this proposed new law.

The bill passed its first reading 14-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

The Wednesday Knesset session lasted six hours. 17 bills were discussed. Eight bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, two were defeated, three were turned into motions and four were not brought up for a vote in order to avoid defeat. The bills advanced will exempt old age homes from municipal taxes, increase funding to the Dead Sea area, allow citizens in national service to vote near their workplace, allow Jews to stay in Israel for up to five years without making aliyah and prohibit alternative therapists from engaging in sexual relations with patients. Seven of nine motions were passed to the various committees for further discussion.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) and Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon (Y.B.) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.

* Nine motions were discussed. Seven were sent to various committees for further discussion by the votes 9-0, 8-0, 8-0, 5-0, 6-0, 4-0 and 4-0. Two were not voted on.

* House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced which disputed bills will be discussed in which committees. He also announced changes in committee assignments: MKs Cabel (Labor), Avraham Balila (Kadima) and Whbee (Kadima) will replace MKs Ben Simon (Labor), Edery (Kadima) and Tirosh (Kadima) in the joint House and Finance subcommittee; and MKs Herzog (Labor) and Orlev (J.H.) will replace MKs Cabel and Orbach (J.H.) in the joint Justice and Finance subcommittee.

Bills Summary

Three Amendments to the Municipal Taxes and Government Taxes Ordinance Bill

MK Haim Katz (Likud) explained his amendment would provide a municipal tax exemption for centers for people with disabilities that are funded by the Labor and Welfare Ministry. He stated that hostels and dorms that house the disabled will also benefit from the same tax break under the bill.

MK Gilon (Meretz) explained his similar amendment would also include disabled mental patients.

MK Barakeh (Hadash) explained that his similar amendment shared parts of the first two amendments.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government support for the bills as long as the three bills are merged into one in the committee.

The bills passed their preliminary readings 20-0, 24-0 and 28-0 and were sent to the Welfare Committee.

Two Amendments to the Economic Arrangements Law to Achieve Budget Goals and Economic Policy for Fiscal Year 2002

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen explained the first amendment would fund Dead Sea coast protection and the second amendment would create a fund for rehabilitation and development of the Dead Sea area. He noted that both bills were submitted by MK Matalon (Y.B.) and expressed government support for the bills.

Tourism Minister Misezhnikov (Y.B.) said he was proud to fund both amendments as part of his ministry. He went on to speak about the troubles the Dead Sea faces. He said he is proud to be fighting for the Dead Sea and called these two Matalon Bills the logical next step.

The two amendments passed their preliminary readings 43-0 and 45-0 and were sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Elections Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained his amendment would allow those serving in national service to vote in designated voting stations near their place of service so they don’t have to travel 100 km to get back home.

Justice Minister Neeman praised the bill and expressed government support.

MK Gal-On (Meretz) opposed the bill and called it a sectoral bill that is meant to bring out more national religious votes. She said that if Orlev really cared about the entire population, he would have expanded the bill to cover university and college students.

Speaker Rivlin called for electronic biometric voting that would allow every citizen to vote wherever they wanted.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 47-6 with one MK abstaining and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Obligation to Inform about the Presence of Security Cameras and Restrictions on Providing Information Bill/Motion

MK Swaid (Hadash) explained that his original bill would require a person under surveillance to be notified by someone who is playing big brother. He said that he expected the government to support this bill because they supported citizens’ privacy in the latest amendment to the slander bill. He stated that not telling someone about the presence of a security camera is a violation of their freedom of expression because they would act differently if they knew there was a camera. He said that his bill will protect the privacy of customers and said he didn’t see any reason to have installed secret security cameras in businesses.

Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the bill applies to all public buildings and will make police work much harder if criminals know they are being videotaped.

MK Swaid said he was willing to turn the bill into a motion and discuss giving security forces an exemption after a committee discussion.

The motion passed 49-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Foreign Workers Bill/Motion

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) explained his amendment would increase the minimum age of foreign workers to 35. He noted that foreign workers who work in construction or agriculture would be exempt from this change and said the bill is mostly aimed at the nursing industry. He explained that many young nurses choose to leave their job for another job or find love and leave their original job. He said it is unacceptable for the country to bring in young foreign workers who then choose to skip out on their jobs. He stated that older foreign workers come to Israel to support their families back home and are a lot more stable. He agreed to turn the bill into a motion to avoid defeat and try to convince the government to support it in committee.

The motion passed 28-2 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Two Amendments to the National Health Insurance Bill

MK Gilon explained his amendment would increase funding of the basket of health services and medications by 2% annually. He warned that because the population is getting older the government needs to take his amendment very seriously. He noted that many government ministers support his bill.

MK Gal-On explained that her amendment was word for word the same as Gilon’s. Speaker Rivlin screamed at Meretz’s Faction Manager Ronit Yaacobi for allowing two of her MKs to submit the same exact bill and misusing Knesset protocol. MK Gal-On defended her Faction Manager and screamed at Speaker Rivlin. The two got into an argument on Knesset protocol until Likud Faction Manager Aliza Barashi pointed out to them both that Gal-On’s time was up.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) noted that he was the first person to raise the health basket funding in over a decade and he expressed pride in the NIS 300 million budget. He said that although he finds the health basket an integral part of his ministry, he can’t agree to an annual 2% increase at the expense of the other important items that would be hurt by this measure. He expressed government opposition to the bill.

MK Gilon said he wants the government’s medication of what they see from the inside can’t be seen from the outside. He said that if he had that prescription he would be a happy man.

The bills were defeated 24-42 and 22-41.

Fund for Dividing Revenue from Natural Resources toward Education, Health and Welfare Bill

MK Tirosh (Kadima) explained that her original bill would create a fund from the money the government receives from its natural gas reserves. She stated the fund would be spent on education, health and welfare investments. She went on to criticize the government for the extremism of the ultra-orthodox and settlers. She warned that this type of behavior against women and soldiers will turn Israel into the Taliban. She got into a shouting match with MK Regev (Likud) for several minutes and went on to argue with MK Zeev (Shas) and MK Ariel (N.U.).

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen explained the government asked MK Tirosh to delay the vote on her bill for a month in order to allow the government to present its bill. He said the two bills will be passed together and merged in committee.

Amendment to the Civil Defense Bill

MK Shai (Kadima) explained that his amendment would force the government to fund the distribution of gas mask kits to the entire population. He warned that only 55% of Israelis have gas masks and that the Iranian threat is real and should not be taken lightly. He said it would only cost NIS 1 billion to fund the project. He asked what would happen if 40% of the MKs didn’t have gas masks and were told to go find shelter.

Intelligence Minister Meridor (Likud) expressed government opposition to the bill citing budget restraints. He said that by 2018 all Israelis should have gas masks and that it is only a matter of time until it is implemented. He noted that the masks don’t exist and need to be produced before being handed out. He suggested turning the bill into a motion.

MK Shai agreed to turn the bill into a motion in order to convince the government in committee to move up the 2018 time table so that Israelis don’t die unnecessarily at the hands of Iran.

The motion passed 42-3 and was sent to the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee.

MK Regev spent five minutes defending her positions in response to MK Tirosh, who had attacked her in the discussion of the previous bill.

Amendment to the Planning and Building Bill

Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) expressed government opposition to MK Bielski’s amendment that would promote affordable housing for young people in various ways. He said that he personally agrees with the bill but the government is against it, so he must vote against the bill.

MK Bielski (Kadima) asked for a two to three week extension on the voting of the bill. Minister Yishai granted the request. Deputy Speaker Akunis (Likud) noted that there would only be a vote and no discussion when the bill comes up again.

Amendment to the Entry into Israel Bill

MK Michaeli (Shas) explained his amendment would allow students, tourists or others who live in Israel the right to stay in Israel for five years if they are eligible under the right of return laws. He said that if a person is eligible for immigration but wants to check Israel out for five years before making that decision, it should be allowed. He said it is strange that the country would deport eligible citizens because they spent too much time in Israel.  Work privileges would be granted and aliyah rights would not expire during the five years.

Interior Minister Yishai said that Jews should be given special treatment over other tourists and should not be treated like foreign workers. He noted that Jewish Agency Chairman Sharansky and Immigration and Absorption Minister Landver (Y.B.) both support this bill. He expressed his and the government’s support for this bill. He said that recently he approved an executive order that allows Jewish tourists who are not students to work in Israel for two to three years. He said that he believes this bill will encourage aliyah.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 34-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Marriage and Divorce Ordinance Bill

MK Kirshenbaum (Y.B.) explained her amendment would allow couples to go through the marriage registration process in the area of their choice as opposed to the current situation of allowing it only where the couple live. She said that a couple should be allowed to choose a different city if the local rabbinate is discriminating against converts and immigrants. She noted that this would also help the Tzohar Rabbis of Shoham gain more popularity and allow more liberal-leaning rabbinical weddings. She said that because the government is opposed to this bill, she will give them two more weeks to decide to support it. She vowed that she will bring her bill for a vote in two weeks with or without the government’s support.

Amendment to the Ultra-Orthodox Jews’ Appropriate Representation in Public Service Sector Bill

MK Gafni (U.T.J.) noted that women, Ethiopians, Arabs, Druze and Russians all have higher employment rates than the ultra-orthodox and blamed the government’s policy for the discrimination. He explained his amendment would create an affirmative action for the ultra-orthodox so that they no longer act as a burden on the Israeli economy. He charged that they are not given jobs because of their lifestyle and not because of lack of qualifications. He called the government hypocrites for calling on the ultra-orthodox to work and then opposing a bill that will only call for affirmative action in the public sector. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill in order to give the government time to come to their senses.

Amendment to the Penal Code Bill

MK Shai explained that his amendment would prohibit sexual relations between alternative therapists and their patients. He said that alternative medicine is complicated because its therapists are not graduates of actual universities and the law doesn’t regulate the industry at all. He noted that a 2004 amendment prohibited sexual relations between doctors and therapists with their patients. He stated that since then several cases of sexual harassment and other issues have hit the courts concerning alternative medicine. He reported that in such cases the courts have found that the 2004 amendment does not cover alternative therapists.  He explained his amendment would close the technical loophole.

Justice Minister Neeman said the matter is complicated because it is hard to define who is an alternative therapist. He added that the 2004 amendment of the prohibition of sexual relations between a therapist and a patient extends to three years after the last treatment. He expressed government support for the bill but warned the bill will be changed dramatically in committee.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 9-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

The Tuesday session lasted about two hours. One bill was discussed and became law after passing its third reading. The bill prohibits banks from collecting interest after the foreclosure of a customer’s home. Two motions were discussed, one of which was sent to committee for further discussion.

Non-Bill Summary

* 17 MKs spoke during the one minute speech segment that opened the afternoon. Many spoke about contracted workers and what they gained or could have gained from the previous night’s bill.

* A motion marking fifty years since the Eichmann trial was discussed by Speaker Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Opposition Leader Livni and Minister Peled (Likud), a Holocaust survivor.

* A motion on the Jewish communities in Europe that are struggling with new laws prohibiting Jewish ritual slaughter was discussed by five MKs and Hasbara Minister Edelstein (Likud). The motion was sent for further discussion in the Diaspora Affairs Committee by an 8-0 vote.

* Agriculture Minister Noked (Independence) answered a query at the end of the session.

Bill Summary

Amendment to the Banking Bill

Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) explained the amendment would prohibit banks from collecting loan or mortgage interest from a customer after the foreclosure of his house, unless the house cost more than NIS 2.5 million.

The bill passed its second reading 12-0.

The bill passed its third reading 10-0.

MK Cabel (Labor) thanked the Knesset for approving his bill. He said it was wrong for banks to collect interest from someone after they already took away his home.

The Monday session lasted about five hours. Six bills were discussed. Three bills became law after passing their third readings and three were advanced after passing their first readings. The new laws present contracted workers with more rights, enact various changes in the employment services council and prohibit the sale of books in a mandatory package deal. The three no-confidence motions were defeated.

Non-Bills Summary

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The Netanyahu government widens social gaps and continues to hurt the middle and lower classes’ was defeated 38-51 with 31 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘OECD inequality data’ was defeated 37-53 with 30 MKs not present.

* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘Netanyahu’s failure in government treatment of economic and social problems in the Arab communities’ was defeated 31-56 with 33 MKs not present.

* House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced that MK Tibi (R.T.) will replace MK El-Sana (R.T.) and MK Herzog (Labor) will replace MK Cabel (Labor) in a joint subcommittee of the Justice and Finance Committees.

Bills Summary

Increased Enforcement of Labor Laws Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) stated that his committee has passed over 90 bills over the course of this term. He revealed that this is one of his favorites. He said that this bill will help contracted workers by both enforcing their existing labor rights and providing them with additional labor rights. He added that the bill severely increases sanctions against contractors who violate these rights. He spent about thirty minutes discussing the very complex bill and explaining its many clauses.

MK Khenin (Hadash) praised Chairman Katz and noted that Katz was wearing a white shirt for only the second time this term. He said that although he agrees that this is a good bill he objects to the bill because it doesn’t do enough for the contracted workers. He spent about thirty minutes pointing out holes in the bill and clauses that should have been added.

MK Shemtov (Y.B.) called the bill a holiday celebration for contracted workers. She stressed that the reason she went on a hunger strike for two days was to put pressure on the government to pass this bill as quickly as possible. She recalled working as a cleaning lady as a contracted worker and the tough conditions she worked under. She stated the bill does have both meat and teeth and will help the contracted workers.

MK Peretz (Labor) said this bill is the most important bill Chairman Katz has ever touched and it will forever be the one bill that is remembered as Katz’s legacy. He called the bill a social justice bill and praised Katz for a few more minutes. He called on the government to implement this bill and other socialist bills and to stop the selective enforcement policy of non-capitalistic bills.

Chairman Katz called on MK Khenin to remove his objections and asked the Knesset to approve the bill as is. Khenin agreed to remove all but one of his objections.

The bill’s 58 paragraphs passed their second reading 43-0, 46-0, 46-0 and 49-0.

The objection was defeated 7-33-1.

The bill passed its third reading 48-0.

Amendment to the Employment Services Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the amendment would change the structure of the Employment Services Council by changing the number of council members and introducing term limits. He said the amendment will also change both the authority and the budget of the council.

The bill passed its second reading 26-0.

The bill passed its third reading 25-0.

Amendment to the Civil Wrongs Bill

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan (Likud) explained that through this amendment the liability of the State toward victims of terrorist acts would be restructured within one bill. He reported that the current situation allows victims to choose one of two to three bills in order to receive financial compensation. He revealed that some people have decided to seek compensation through more than one track which leads some people to play the system. He concluded by stating that the amendment repeals the current amendment which allows victims to seek compensation through the Civil Wrongs Bill.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) said that it is the government’s responsibility to take care of terror victims and their families. He expressed regret that the Arabs will never accept the Jews and looked to the Bible to support his theory. He went on to blast the incitement in the news against the ultra-orthodox.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) criticized the government for allowing foreigners to tell Israel what they can and can’t do with their capital, Jerusalem.

The bill passed its first reading 15-6 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) called on Israel to throw away the Ottoman Income Tax Ordinance Bill and replace it with an Israeli one. He explained the amendment would increase the tax-free contributions citizens and foreigners can donate to public institutions.

MK Eichler blasted the press for ultra-orthodox incitement and the government institutions for discriminating against the ultra-orthodox.

MK Ariel (N.U.) supported the bill. He went on to slam Netanyahu for allowing everyone but Jews to enter the Temple Mount. He charged that Netanyahu doesn’t seek to protect Jerusalem’s sovereignty.

MK Ben Ari blasted the discrimination against the ultra-orthodox in the workplace.

The bill passed its first reading 15-0 and was sent to the Funds Committee.

Amendment to the Military Justice Bill

Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) explained the amendment would prohibit the police from releasing criminal records to most government institutions in order to prevent discrimination during the hiring process.

MK Levin (Likud) expressed reservations about the bill. He said the fight should be to close criminal records when the person is found innocent, not give a free pass to everyone.

The bill passed its first reading 15-0 and was sent to the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee.

Amendment to the State Education Bill

MK Michaeli (Y.B.) explained this was her first bill to be brought for approval and it is her baby. She stated her amendment will prohibit bookstores from selling books in package deals and enable customers to buy a book separately from the package.

The bill passed its second reading 13-0.

The bill passed its third reading 14-0.

An internet based poll by the Panels Polling Company on Decemeber 12, 2011, offers an explanation for why Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to call for early primaries for the Likud chairmanship. According to the poll Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud would gain five seats and enjoy a 13-seat lead over second place Kadima. Labor drops from the second largest party position in recent polls to third and would win only four more seats than it had under Defense Minister Barak in 2009. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman drops to 13 seats in this poll and is a main reason his party is against calling for early elections. The poll only showed the results for the four largest parties and chose not to show the results of the other nine parties currently represented in Knesset. The poll does show that the four larger parties would gain three seats from its smaller counterparts.

If elections held today (expressed in Knesset seats)

Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

32 [27] Likud
19 [28] Kadima
17 [08] Labor
13 [15] Yisrael Beitenu
39 [ 42] Other Parties

The Wednesday session lasted about eight hours and fifteen minutes. 14 bills were discussed. Three bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, two were turned into motions, two were postponed in order to avoid defeat and seven were defeated. The bills advanced deal with incentives for neutering your dog, providing grandparents the right to see their grandchildren and technical changes to the Knesset Bill. Five of eight motions were sent for further discussion in various committees.

Non-Bills Summary

*Homefront Defense Minister Vilnai (Independence), Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas), Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.), Communication Minister Kahlon (Likud) and Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.

*Eight motions were discussed on various topics. Five of them were sent for further discussion in various committees by the votes 12-0, 17-0, 8-0, 10-0 and 4-0. Two motions were not voted on, and a motion on the racism in Israeli education system textbooks was defeated 5-6.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Legal Capacity and Guardianship Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained his amendment would allow grandparents contact with a minor even if the parent isn’t allowed contact. He noted that the judges would have the authority to determine if the grandparents shouldn’t have contact with the minor.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 11-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Knesset Bill

MK Levin (Likud) explained that his amendment will match the Knesset Elections Bill to the Knesset Bill and eliminate several inconsistencies. He noted that the government doesn’t have a position on the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 23-0 and was sent to the House Committee.

Amendment to the Control of Dogs Bill

MK Cabel (Labor) thanked Minister Noked (Independence) and MK Rotem (Y.B.) for fighting with him for animal rights. He explained the amendment would promote spaying and neutering dogs by lowering the price of dog registration in order to prevent the thousands of dogs who are put to sleep every year. He noted that those who don’t neuter their dogs will need to pay more for registration than they do today.

Agriculture Minister Noked expressed government support for the bill.

MK Eldad (N.U.) said he is frustrated with the obsessive animal rights legislation over the last month. He suggested that if we start limiting the number of animals we will eventually limit the number of people. He warned that this bill will encourage people not to register their dogs to avoid the high costs of the registration, which will lead to fewer dogs being neutered and getting their shots. He opposed the bill and called on the Knesset to defeat it.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 28-2 with one MK abstaining and was sent to the Education Committee.

Amendment to the Planning and Building Bill/Motion

MK Barakeh (Hadash) explained the amendment would require building demolitions to be funded at the expense of the State. He stated that if the government wants to destroy an illegal building and throw a family out on the street, the government should pay for the demolition and not require the evicted family to pay for it. He blasted the government for discriminating against Arabs.

Environment Minister Erdan (Likud) said that Barakeh’s speech had little to do with the bill itself or the truth and therefore he will ignore his speech. He said that Jewish homes are also demolished for being illegal and a bill that legalizes illegal buildings is very questionable. He said that he was willing to support the bill as a motion if Barakeh was interested and he would explain to Barakeh why Barakeh was wrong in the committee.

MK Barakeh agreed to turn the bill into a motion in order to prevent its defeat.

The motion passed 55-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

MK Zahalka (Balad) explained his amendment would exempt students from paying national insurance contributions. He said that the social justice protesters were mainly students and the middle class. He said that they are still waiting for that social justice and this bill will bring it forward.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) expressed government opposition to the bill due to financial concerns.

The bill was defeated 24-38 with one MK abstaining.

Amendment to the Companies’ Ordinance Bill/Motion

MK Katzeleh (N.U.) explained that the amendment gives the government the power and grounds for dissolution of a company if it boycotts Israeli settlements by refusing to provide services or products. He noted that the bill doesn’t force the dissolution; it just empowers the government to do so. He noted the eight coalition MKs that signed the bill wish to see it passed today. He thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for showing up to hear his speech and called on him to support this nationalistic and Zionistic bill. He noted that Jews were boycotted throughout their history and now that we have our own state we can’t allow Israeli companies to boycott parts of Israel. He stated that 700,000 Jews over the green line are being boycotted and the government should do something about it.

Justice Minister Neeman opposed the bill on the grounds that the government can only dissolve a company if it commits illegal measures and can’t dissolve a company for ethical reasons. He said this bill could put many workers in the unemployment offices and that isn’t fair. He suggested to Katzeleh to find a different way to combat the boycotting of settlements and settlers.

MK Katzeleh said his co-sponsors suggested turning the bill into a motion and that is something he can support. He said the boycotting of Jews in Israel must be discussed in committee. Neeman agreed.

The motion was passed 45-13 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

MK Molla (Kadima) explained his amendment would allow the labor court to hear social security appeals and have the final decision in those cases. He called his bill a fair one that will bring justice to many people who were wronged.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon noted that in most cases it is already possible to appeal to the labor court. He said that he is against sending cases that don’t have to do with labor law to the labor court and therefore the government is against the bill. He said that he supports the current situation and said that doctors should make decisions rather than justices in health issues and so forth.

The bill was defeated 26-30.

Amendment to the Jewish Religious Services Bill

MK Molla explained his amendment would combine the religious council of Keisim with the regular religious council. He said that the Ethiopian Keisim are as versed in Jewish law as other rabbis and they should be included in the religious council and not forced to be separate. He said that the discrimination of Ethiopian religious leaders is unbearable and it is wrong that they don’t have any religious authority. He vowed to propose this bill every six months until it is passed.

Religious Affairs Minister Margi (Shas) noted that 86 Keisim have received salaries from his ministry for over twenty years. He said that Chief Rabbis from Morocco and other places had to take the Israeli tests before they entered the religious councils. He said that most Ethiopian Keisim don’t want to be part of the religious councils and many of them don’t do anything and still receive their paychecks. He slammed Molla for being a populist by attacking the religious establishment and told him that Ethiopians are not discriminated against and are treated like every other Jew.

MK Molla told Margi that he should be ashamed of himself telling him and the Ethiopians who they are and what they want. He said that they are not his electorate and they are not his people and they simply want to be part of the religious establishment which discriminates against them. He slammed Rabbi Ovadia Yosef for not doing anything for Ethiopians.

The bill was defeated 32-43. MK Orlev voted for the bill by mistake.

Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) slammed Molla for criticizing Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and told him that without Rabbi Yosef the Ethiopians never would have been brought to Israel.

Free Public Companies Phone Service Bill

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) explained that his original bill would provide free phone calls to public companies, ministries and institutions. He rejected those who said that the country can’t meet the funding required for the bill.

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan (Likud) confessed that he supported the bill but the government decided against it. He said that any bill that costs over a million shekels annually should be examined and if it doesn’t meet government priorities it won’t find support. He said that solving these issues should be directed towards internet solutions and not telephone service. He noted that many times if you call a government company they don’t answer their phone and said that consumers receive better service in person or through the internet. He stressed the most important thing is customer service in any form that they want.

MK Hasson slammed the government for opposing his bill and told them that their priorities are messed up. He said his bill will eventually pass.

The bill was defeated 30-39.

Amendment to the Senior Citizens Bill

MK Shai (Kadima) blamed the government for causing the social justice protests with a failed policy and charged that the government has done nothing since. He explained his amendment would lower the age of the male senior citizen in Israel from 67 to 62 so it matches the age for women. He said this would help them benefit from discounts in property tax, public transportation, television tax, national park and museum fees but would not affect pensions. He called the current situation male discrimination.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the lower female senior citizen age is meant to bring equality to women and to discriminate against men.

MK Shai slammed the government for not treating his bill with the respect it deserves. He slammed the government for not trying to make life a little bit easier for the elderly.

The bill was defeated 28-37.

Child Rights Commission Bill

MK Tirosh (Kadima) explained her original bill would create a child rights commission that would protect children’s rights.

Justice Minister Neeman opposed the bill on the grounds that there are many non-profits that protect children’s rights and there is no reason to create a commission for something that is already being done.

MK Tirosh said that a commission is required and she will continue to fight for children’s rights.

The bill was defeated 29-39.

Amendment to the Reserve Service Bill

MK Zuaretz (Kadima) explained her amendment would provide an academic year without reserve duty for every Israeli veteran. She said that the social justice protesters are calling for this type of bill. She stressed the importance of helping soldiers become civilians by giving them their first year off of reserve duty in order to concentrate on their studies. She agreed to postpone the vote on her bill in order to avoid defeat.

Amendment to the Public Defender Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained that her amendment would force the government to pay for lab tests of defendants needed to prove their innocence. She said that a person shouldn’t need to pay money to prove his innocence. She said that state forensic testing against defendants are often non conclusive and later on other lab tests prove their innocence.

Justice Minister Neeman opposed the bill on the grounds that many defendant lab tests and expert testimonies are paid for by the government. He said that allowing the defendants to order any test on the taxpayers’ back is excessive. He noted that the public defenders office themselves have come out against this bill. He called the bill unnecessary and said he wastes every Friday reading dozens of bills that are not necessary. He called on the MKs to think twice before submitting a bill and decide if it is really necessary to bother him and the Knesset with them.

MK Solodkin stated that innocent people are sitting in jail and only after the family can pay for lab tests does the truth come out and they are set free. She slammed Neeman for supporting the bureaucracy of the current system that will keep those innocent people in jail until they can afford to pay for the tests that prove their innocence. She called her bill very necessary.

The bill was defeated 24-36.

Amendment to the Discrimination Prohibition in Educational Institutions Bill

MK Michaeli (Shas) explained that his amendment would increase the sanctions on principals who discriminate against children through preventing enrollment in educational institutions. He noted that he has postponed this bill for six months and he will postpone the vote on this bill again. He said that he will eventually pass this bill and he will fight to do so.

The Tuesday session lasted about four hours. Two bills were discussed. One bill became law after passing its third reading, and one bill was advanced after passing its first reading. The new law will promote sending minors for rehabilitation outside of jail. The bill advanced will prohibit repo men from taking away a blind person’s walking dog welfare payments. Three motions were discussed, one of which was sent for further discussion in committee.

Non-Bills Summary

* 21 MKs gave speeches during the one minute speech segment that opened the day.

* A motion marking International Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Day was discussed by Speaker Rivlin and six MKs.

* A motion marking International Human Rights Day was discussed by seven MKs and Tourism Minister Misezhnikov (Y.B.).

* A motion on international awareness of the problem of suicide and the need for elimination was discussed by MK Michaeli (Shas), Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) and Finance Minister Steinitz (Likud). The motion was sent to the Funds Committee by a 4-0 vote.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Execution Bill

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) explained that the amendment will place a prohibition on government repo men from taking away the welfare money blind people receive for their walking dogs.

MK Khenin (Hadash) said this bill is in the spirit of International Human Rights Day. He said that the blind person needs those NIS 933 a month for a walking dog and they shouldn’t be taken away in a repo situation.

MK Barakeh (Hadash) praised the bill and noted that Khenin was a co-sponsor on the bill. He said it was a very important bill.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) confided that one of his closest friends is deaf and expressed the importance of supporting those who are handicapped. He supported the bill and said democracies are measured by how they treat their handicapped citizens.

MK Zeev (Shas) supported the bill. He said that the government moves too quickly in freezing funds and he plans on submitting a bill on the subject.

The bill passed its first reading 23-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Youth Bill

Justice, Law and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) explained the amendment will regulate the judgment, punishment and treatment of criminal minors.

The bill passed its second reading 8-0.

The bill passed its third reading 8-0.

MK Orlev (J.H.) noted it took him seven years to get the government to support his bill that will lean towards rehabilitation instead of incarceration.

MK Khenin said this is a revolutionary decision that will make it very difficult to send minors to jail. He said that this type of rehabilitation is in the New Zealand, Canadian and Australian models.

Monday’s session lasted about five hours. Six bills were discussed. Two new laws were enacted after the bills passed their third readings, and four bills were advanced after passing their first readings. The new laws change the tax brackets for 2012 and the Israeli patent laws. The most debated bill advanced was the Museum Bill that would fund museums in Judea and Samaria. The three no-confidence motions were defeated as usual.

Non-Bills Summary

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The Netanyahu government undermines the middle class and the disadvantaged groups’ was defeated 32-48 with 40 MKs not present.

* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The government is trying to bury the demands of social justice’ was defeated 30-49 with 41 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The IDF’s decision to bury the Segev Committee report requiring equality between men and women’ was defeated 30-49 with 41 MKs not present.

* The Justice, Law and Constitution Committee’s request to split a bill into two was approved 14-0.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Patents Bill

Justice, Law and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) explained the amendment would change Israel’s patent laws in order to meet the conditions of the 2009 signed agreement with the WIPO. He noted that not one MK showed up to the committee meetings on the subject.

The bill passed its second reading 42-0 with one MK abstaining.

The bill passed its third reading 39-0.

Amendment to the Change in the Tax Burden Bill

Funds Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) explained the amendment would raise the corporate tax by 1% to 25%. It would also lower income tax in the NIS 8,000 – 14,000 per month bracket by 2%, raise the negative income tax on women by 50%, raise men’s bonus points by two for children under the age of 3, and raise the senior citizens’ interest tax exemption from NIS 9,000 to NIS 13,000 per month for an individual and up to NIS 16,000 for a couple. In addition, the amendment would grant the authorization and transfer of property of secondhand homes to the buyer after the tax authority receives a portion of the purchase tax- NIS 7,500 for apartments built after 2001 and NIS 15,000 for apartments built before.  The amendment would also lower interest rates on mortgages of under NIS 220,000 by 1% only for 2012. He stated the bill will help the middle class at the expense of the rich elite and the bill will assist families in buying their homes. He blasted the Trachtenberg committee, which he said did not reflect the Israeli population since it didn’t have any religious Jews or Arabs.

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) praised the bill and slammed Trachtenberg. He suggested the next steps should be eliminating the VAT on real estate purchases and lowering real estate taxes.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) praised the bill and Chairman Gafni. He said the bill was balanced and creates real solutions for the middle class’ troubles. He rejected the claims that the tent protesters were a bunch of communists and suggested the government listen to their cries. He went on to call on the government to solve the demographic problem by providing free childcare from the age of three months through high school and cheaper university tuition. He concluded by praising the government for eliminating the customs tax for purchases under NIS 1,200.

MK Molla (Kadima) praised the bill but expressed disappointment that the bill doesn’t go further in the real estate category. He said that we don’t need communism but we should turn the pyramids around so that there are fewer poor people and more rich people. He agreed with Hasson that child daycare should be free from three months old. He slammed the government for raising the electricity prices at the same time they are lowering the middle class’ taxes, suggesting the middle class will not save any money.

MK Whbee (Kadima) praised and supported the bill. He said that any time the government takes money from the rich and gives it to the poor it is a bill that Kadima will support. He thanked the government for lowering the gas taxes. He slammed the government for not doing more for the over 1.7 million Israelis under the poverty line. He said the poor keep getting poorer and the rich keep getting richer.

MK Gafni said he agreed with the four MKs who spoke on the bill and said he wished he could have added other things to the bill. He said that by helping the companies and the rich, the poor get jobs and that is why Israel has an all time low rate of unemployment. He said the important thing is to find a balance and that is what this bill brings. He thanked all of the MKs for supporting the bill.

The bill passed its second reading 41-0.

The bill passed its third reading 40-0.

MK Barakeh (Hadash) called on the government to cancel the two-year budget and to reopen it for 2012 to add the demands of the tent protesters. He said that taxes should be raised on the rich and lowered for the poor. He called for ending the occupation and eliminating most of the defense ministry’s budget.

Finance Minister Steinitz (Likud) thanked the MKs from all the parties that supported the bill. He urged financial responsibility and prayed that the Euro doesn’t crash.

Amendment to the Museums Bill

MK Ariel (N.U.) explained the amendment would apply the museum bill to Judea and Samaria. He noted four museums that would now be able to receive government funding like other Israeli museums. He asked why 400,000 Judea and Samaria residents have taxation without representation as unequal citizens under Israeli law. He expressed hope that this will be the first step in righting that wrong.

MK Molla announced that Kadima had decided to allow every MK to vote according to their belief on this bill. He expressed his view that Israel should end the occupation and that he will support this bill until the residents of Judea and Samaria return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

MK Barakeh called this bill a win to the land grabbers, hilltop youth and price taggers. He called on the government to fund a Palestinian museum on the occupation and settler violence. He said that the settlers are not citizens and therefore do not deserve rights. He stated his belief that the settlements are temporary.

MK Swaid (Hadash) said that this bill is meant to annex Judea and Samaria into Israel. He said the land is occupied and can’t be annexed. He said this bill is parallel to the construction of a museum of tolerance over a Muslim cemetery. He asked if Israel wants to annex the King Solomon borders and rule over the whole Middle East.

MK Khenin (Hadash) said this bill teaches us that Israel is still trying to play the Zionist game of the 1940s. He said that the world will never accept the occupation and that Israel will eventually give up on ruling over the Palestinians.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) accused Netanyahu for supporting a two state solution of Israel and a second country for the settlers of Judea and Samaria, leaving nothing for the occupied Palestinians. He said that the Jews have no historical or geographic claim to Israel. He said as the decedents of Abraham the Palestinians deserve at least 50% of historic Palestine.

MK Zahalka (Balad) stated there is a normalization of the occupation and that is the reason this bill doesn’t receive press coverage. He called the bill a violation of international law. He called Israel a criminal nation.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) supported the bill and praised it. He slammed the Muslims for denying the Jewish state of Israel and the Supreme Court for accepting many of these ridiculous Muslim claims.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) rejected the Palestinian claims that they are Jebozites, noting that they were idol worshipers, not Arabs or Abrahamites. He praised the bill.

MK Rotem noted that there was never any Palestinian state and that Israel conquered Judea and Samaria from Jordan. He said that the U.N. partition plan called for a Jewish land and an Arab land, and both were created- Israel and Jordan. He stated that the Palestinian people are a new invention, their land is not occupied and the bill is not a violation of international law. He praised the bill.

The bill passed its first reading 19-3 and was sent to the Culture Committee.

Amendment to the Pensions to Prisoners of Zion and their Families Bill

Immigration and Absorption Minister Landver (Y.B.) explained the amendment would create a technical change over which court will listen to appeals that deal with the implementation of the bill.

MK Molla slammed the bill and warned that this bill is meant to make the appeal process more difficult. He said this is a bad bill and disagreed with the Supreme Court’s call for this change.

MK Eichler supported the bill. He went on to slam MK Yoel Hasson for repeatedly inciting against the ultra-orthodox.

The bill passed its first reading 12-2 and was sent to the Immigration Committee.

Amendment to the Foundations of the Budget Bill

MK Levin (Likud) explained the amendment would force the Speaker to release a report on budget execution of the Knesset every six months. He noted the government doesn’t have a position on the issue.

The bill passed its first reading 14-0 and was sent to the House Committee.

Amendment to the Pre-Military Schools Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained the amendment would increase the funding in the ministry of education budget section of the bill from NIS 33 to 49 million annually. He added that the entire budget will come from the Education Ministry, instead of the current situation where the Defense Ministry pays 50%. He noted that in most years the Defense Ministry didn’t pay their half of the money and the pre-military schools received only half of their money.

The bill passed its first reading 13-0 and was sent to the Education Committee.

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