Archive for January, 2012


The Knesset’s Wednesday session lasted about nine hours. Fourteen bills were discussed. Three bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, six were defeated and five votes were postponed in order to avoid defeat. The bills advanced will force supermarkets to use electronic price displays, close a loophole that allows certain institutions to hire sex offenders as consultants, and define under Israeli law what ‘affordable housing’ really means. Eleven motions were also discussed.

Non-Bills Summary

* Homefront Defense Minister Vilnai (Independence), Justice Minister Neeman, Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.), Culture and Sport Minister Livnat (Likud) and Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.

* 11 motions were discussed on a wide range of topics. Nine of the motions were sent for further discussion in the various Knesset committees by the votes 17-0, 14-0, 11-1, 7-1, 6-0, 5-0, 6-0, 6-0 and 9-0. One motion was not voted on. A motion on the Quartet-sponsored resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians in Jordan was defeated 3-4 and will not be discussed further.

* Justice Minister Neeman answered three queries at the end of the session.

Bills Summary

 

Amendment to the Consumer Protection Bill

MK Matalon (Y.B.) explained his amendment would force all supermarkets to post prices for every item on the shelves using an electronic barcode and display. He said this new law will prevent gaps in prices between the sticker and the checkout. He said it will also help people with bad eyesight see the prices more clearly and the green aspect is saving trees by preventing the use of stickers.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) explained his ministry is against this bill but a ministers’ majority has awarded it government support. He asked the Knesset to approve the bill, despite the fact that the government doesn’t really want the bill to advance.

Speaker Rivlin pondered why the government would vote for a bill that they oppose.

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

Amendment to the Preventing Employment of Sex Offenders in Certain Institutions Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained his amendment would prohibit people who work in an institution to directly or indirectly hire a sex offender. He said the current loophole of indirectly hiring a sex offender as a contractor must be closed.

Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) expressed government support for the bill.

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

Achievable Housing Bill

MK Amnon Cohen (Shas) explained his original bill would define “achievable affordable housing” under Israeli law. He stated that certain areas will be designated as such for a twenty year period and contractors will be given incentives to build smaller apartments in those areas.

MK Bar-On (Kadima) charged that Cohen’s bill is a collection of Kadima bills that were opposed by the government. He said it is unacceptable that the government opposes the same text when it is from the opposition but supports it when it comes from the coalition.

Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas) said there is great importance in defining “achievable affordable housing” under Israeli law and expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 53-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill.

Return of Akrit and Biram Residents and their Descendents to their Homes Bill

MK Barakeh (Hadash) explained his original bill would allow former Arab residents of Biram and Akrit and their descendents to return to their homes. He noted a 1951 Supreme Court decision that ordered the Israeli government to comply with the Arabs’ request for their right of return. He stated his bill would enforce the Supreme Court decision and promises by the Israeli military of 1948/9. He reported that Biram’s former residents are Israeli citizens and are not living in other countries.

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan (Likud) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that Israel needs to remain a Jewish and democratic state. He said that if Jews are evacuated from Gush Katif under that reasoning, then Arabs who were evacuated from their homes hold under the same reasoning.

MK Barakeh dismissed Eitan’s suggestion that government support of the bill would hurt Israel’s demographics since moving Israeli citizens from Haifa to Biram has nothing to do with demographics. He also rejected the comparison with Gush Katif’s former residents, claiming the Katif residents were outside of Israel’s borders.

The bill was defeated 15-51-1.

Basic Law: Judiciary

MK Katzeleh (N.U.) explained his amendment to the Basic Judiciary Law would define when there could be judicial review of the validity of a law. He noted the dozens of MKs from the opposition and coalition that support the bill. He said that it is unacceptable that the Supreme Court can cancel Knesset laws without clear regulations on when the Supreme Court possesses the right to do so. He announced this amendment will define when the Supreme Court can overturn a bill and when it cannot.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that it limits the Supreme Court’s ability to cancel Knesset laws. He said this is a sensitive and delicate matter and the Knesset shouldn’t approve this bill.

MK Katzeleh listed the names of all of the co-sponsors and supporters. He noted Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) was not around so the coalition should vote as they wish.

The bill was defeated 3-43.

Amendment to the Business Licensing Bill

MK Zuaretz (Kadima) explained her amendment would regulate spa and massage business licenses. She said that currently the police are not involved in the business license, which creates a loophole that leads to spa/massage prostitution rings. She noted that Israel is among the leading human trafficking countries and this will help lower Israel on that list. She asked why the police are involved in alcohol licenses but not spa licenses. She regretted the government’s opposition to the bill and agreed to postpone the vote on the bill in order to lobby for support.

Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance Bill

MK Molla (Kadima) explained his amendment would grant an exemption to veterans for their driver’s license registration payment. He charged that if a coalition member had proposed the bill it would have passed. He went on to blast the Kiryat Malachi residents who refuse to sell their homes to Ethiopians. He spoke several minutes on the subject.

Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) announced he supported Molla on the Kiryat Malachi incident and on this bill. He stated the government chose by a majority to oppose the bill on budgetary grounds.

MK Molla said it is unacceptable that the government will charge soldiers and veterans a registration payment they can’t afford.

The bill was defeated 26-37.

Amendment to the Tenders Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained her amendment would require the representation in government tenders of small and medium-sized enterprises and companies of up to 100 employees. She noted that 97% of Israel’s businesses fit that description and they employ 1.5 million of the 2.7 million salaried workers in Israel’s private sector.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that many medium and small businesses are already part of government tenders. He stated there is no reason to pass the bill. He added that affirmative action for small businesses will hurt the customers, who care the most about the final product.

MK Solodkin said her bill is the ABCs of capitalism, the protection of small businesses.

The bill was defeated 24-37.

Social Housing Bill

MK Solodkin announced this is the fifth time she is bringing up her original bill this term and she expects this will be the fifth time it is defeated. She said 50,000 of the 53,000 waiting in line for public housing are immigrants, many of whom have been in line for a decade. She said it is unacceptable to bring over immigrants and not find them housing. She said it is cheaper in the long run to give the poor free social housing instead of paying their rent month after month. She charged the lack of public housing is causing young couples to live with their parents. She concluded that her bill calls for eight percent of all Israeli projects to be set aside for social housing.

Housing and Construction Minister Atias said he agrees with the intention of the bill but the implementation of the bill is lacking. He said that social housing has been on a decline for over twenty years and he is the only one who has increased it over that time. He said that a similar bill proposed by MK Azoulay (Shas), signed by over 50 MKs, doesn’t cost as much money as Solodkin’s bill and that is a version he plans on supporting. He said those waiting in line are having their rent paid and eventually they will move in to their homes.

The bill was defeated 28-35.

Amendment to the Security Service Bill

Homefront Security Minister Vilnai (Independence) responded to MK Yisrael Hasson’s bill that was presented at a previous date on the conditions for women’s exemption from the army for reasons of religious conviction. He called on MK Hasson to postpone the vote on the bill for another three weeks for the government version of the bill.

MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima) slammed the government version and said it was unacceptable that the soldiers will stalk 40% of each women’s class every Sabbath to make sure they are really religious. He slammed the coalition for opposing his bill and supporting a more extreme version by the government.

Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) responded to MK Hasson and told him he doesn’t understand the government version at all.

The bill was defeated 26-36-9.

Amendment to the Inspection of Commodity Prices and Services Bill

MK Gafni (U.T.J.) revealed that he asked the government to oppose the previous bill and once again it proves how the government has no guts and does what he asks. He said if Kadima didn’t attack the ultra-orthodox he would have brought down the government and gone with Kadima into the next government. He revealed that after the elections he wanted to go with Livni instead of Netanyahu but Livni screwed it up. He explained his amendment would force the government to supervise health food products, such as whole wheat products. He slammed the government for opposing his bill and said it must be because he has caused political problems for the government lately. He stated the health ministry agrees to the bill. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill in order to give the government time to come around.

Three Amendments to the Construction and Evacuation of Development Zones

MK Michaeli (Shas) explained the government supported his amendment but the finance minister appealed the decision and the decision will be postponed for one week. He stated the amendment would allow Kfar Shalem residents the money due to them based on the Evacuation Building Bill. He slammed previous government officials that have prevented giving the residents what they deserve under law. MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) criticized Michaeli for not doing anything for Kfar Shalem’s residents, who happen to be his voters. Michaeli rejected Hasson’s claims.

MK Akunis (Likud) explained his similar amendment would accomplish the same exact thing. He slammed the bureaucrats who have burried this law for decades. He stressed that bureaucrats shouldn’t decide in policy matters which laws they follow and which they choose not to follow. He slammed MK Yoel Hasson for not fixing the situation when Kadima was in charge last term.

MK Gilon (Meretz) explained his similar amendment is just as important as the first two. He slammed Likud, Kadima and Shas. He said that he doesn’t believe any of the amendments will ever pass.

The votes on all three bills were postponed in order to gather government support.

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s January 4, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/00154512.doc

The latest poll gives the nationalist camp 68 seats, a gain of three. Prime Minster Netanyahu’s Likud’s 30 seats are double second place Labor’s 15. Kadima receives the same number of seats whether Livni or Mofaz leads the party. Lapid earns 11 seats, although it is still unclear who will be on his list. According to the poll there seems to be three tiers- Likud at the top, five parties with 10-15 seats and seven parties with 3-6 seats.

The Smith Institute Poll was published by newspaper Globes on January 27, 2012. The sample was of 500 people, and the margin of error stood at 4.5%.

If elections were held today who would you vote for?
Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

30 [27] Likud
15 [08] Labor
14 [15] Yisrael Beitenu
13 [28] Kadima- Livni or Mofaz
11 [---] Yair Lapid Party
10 [11] Shas
06 [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
05 [04] National Union
04 [04] Hadash
03 [03] Jewish Home
03 [03] Meretz
03 [04] Ra’am-Ta’al
03 [03] Balad
00 [05] Independence

Knesset Polls

A link to a table of the 70 polls conducted from June 2010 until Jan 2012.

Enjoy,

Jeremy

knessetpolls

Thanks to KnessetJeremy intern Aaron Crimmins for the table.

The Knesset’s Tuesday session lasted about four hours. Five bills were advanced after passing their first readings. The relatively busy Tuesday session included legislation on cell phone cancellation fines, whistleblowers’ espionage, discrimination of pregnant woman and reserve soldiers in the work place, standardized pharmacy exams, and maternity benefits in cases of long infant hospital stays. A motion honoring the deaf was also discussed.

Non-Bills Summary

* 21 MKs spoke during the one minute speech segment that opened the day. The main topic was the Grunis Bill that passed the previous night. Bureaucracy Minister Eitan (Likud) responded to some of the speeches.

* A motion on International Listening Day was discussed by six MKs and Minister Eitan. The motion was not voted on.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Bill

Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) explained his amendment would prohibit cell phone companies from charging cancellation fines. He said that fines are for criminals, not for consumers who choose to move to a better service. He said that a previous amendment outlawed the cancellation fines for cable and television and this is the next step. He said this amendment will create a free market for consumers and allow them to change from company to company at their leisure. He said that the cell phone companies have already tried to find a loophole by transferring the cancellation fees to the phone device and not the service. He assured the cell phone companies that he will close that loophole before the second reading of the bill. He called the cell phone companies monsters and told them that the celebration is over.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) noted other loopholes that should be closed in committee meetings. He told the story of Max Noradu, who joined the Zionist movement after an encounter with an ultra-orthodox child in Paris.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) supported the important bill. He said that consumers should understand that there is a lot of garbage for sale and they should stop buying it.

MK Majadele (Labor) said that this bill comes 3-4 years too late. He called on the MKs to solve problems when they occur, not after years of complaining.

MK Zeev (Shas) said that three year contracts for cell phone devices are ridiculous and that some marriages don’t last that long. He called on the cell phone companies to wake up and change their ways before additional legislation is targeted at them.

MK Tibi (R.T.) supported Shama’s bill and blasted the cell phone companies.

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

Amendment to the Penal Code Bill

MK Schneller (Kadima) explained his amendment would change provisions regarding espionage for those who whistleblow instead of handing information to enemies. He said the amendment creates a new provision that gives a whistleblower to a newspaper a shorter sentence than those who are labeled enemies of the state. He agreed with the label of the “Anat Kam Bill” since this bill deals with situations like hers.

MK Eichler listed a number of attacks on ultra-orthodox Jews by secular Jews. He slammed the press for their incitement against the community he represents. He called on the press to stop buying into the Reform Judaism garbage. He slammed the attempted delegitimizing of the ultra-orthodox.

MK Ariel (N.U.) agreed with Eichler that there is incitement from the press against the ultra-orthodox. He supported the Penal Code amendment. He went on to slam the arrest of six settlers for espionage because they tried to prevent the dismantling of an outpost through a phone call. Ariel confessed that he is a spy doing the same exact thing and said he would lift his immunity in order to stand trial.

MK Ben Ari agreed with Eichler and Ariel that there is incitement from the press against the ultra-orthodox. He slammed the arrest of the six setters and also revealed that he makes the same phone calls and sends text messages. He said that apparently freedom of expression is not given to settlers.

MK Zeev supported the bill and said if this bill had been passed earlier it would have put Anat Kam away for many more years. He charged that military whistleblowers hate the country and should be sent to jail for a long time. He suggested jailing the journalists who publish confidential documents as well.

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

Amendment to the Employment Services Bill

MK Shai (Kadima) explained the amendment would extend the prohibition of discrimination to pregnant women, reserve soldiers and workers with related issues.

MK Eichler said he supported the bill but slammed Shai for leaving out discrimination of ultra-orthodox Jews. He explained that he is for a free press but he is against a free press that misuses that power to incite against minorities. He recalled his background as a journalist and stressed he never incited against the secular population. He slammed Professor Trachtenberg for inciting against the ultra-orthodox.

MK Ariel said it is a worthy bill and he will support it. He went on to criticize the government for not doing enough for the disengagement’s victims who stand at an alarming 20% unemployment. He asked the MKs to come up with solutions for these people.

MK Ben Ari slammed the academia and Supreme Court who discriminate against anyone who isn’t a Tel Aviv Ashkenazi elitist, calling them aristocrats. He asked how 210 of the 220 professors in academia are Ashkenazi Jews or Arabs. He added that he was one of eleven Sephardi Jew professors before entering the Knesset. He said that there are a lot of companies that discriminate against those who can’t work on the Sabbath.

MK Whbee (Kadima) supported the bill. He went on to discuss the poor public transportation system in the Galil Druze villages and how the Druze are discriminated against by potential employers.

MK Zeev said that many people are fired every year because they refuse to work on the Sabbath. He called on Shai to add religious Jews to his bill.

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

Amendment to the Pharmacist Ordinance Bill

MK Eldad (N.U.) slammed the arrest of the six settlers. He explained the amendment would force Israeli pharmacists to take the pharmacy licensing examination that is required from those who don’t learn in Israeli schools. He said that all Israeli pharmacists should take the standardized test and it is unacceptable that only certain pharmacists need to.

The bill passed its first reading 7-0 and was sent to the Health Committee.

Amendment to the Employment of Women Bill

MK Levi-Abekasis (Y.B.) charged that her bills are always at the end of the night because someone thinks that it will help the Knesset channel ratings. She explained the amendment would extend the allowed maternity leave for up to three months in the event of hospitalization of a newborn. She said this is an important bill and she is disappointed that no other female MK is here to support it.

MK Whbee supported the bill and thanked Levi-Abekasis for delivering it.

The bill passed its first reading 6-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s January 3, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/00100012.doc

The Knesset’s Monday session lasted about seven hours. Seven bills were discussed. Four bills became law after passing their third readings, and three were advanced after passing their first readings. Following the defeat of the opposition’s no-confidence motions, the Knesset passed a bill that helps pave the way of Justice Grunis to the presidency of the Supreme Court. Other interesting bills were passed deeper into the night, such as a bill that forces terrorists released in prison swaps to serve the remainder of their term if they return to terror.

Non-Bills Summary

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The failure of the Netanyahu government in the political, economic and social sectors’ was defeated 43-55 with 22 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘Mismanagement of foreign affairs, international status damaged by ruining key relationships with friends of Israel and deepening its isolation in the world’ was defeated 37-56 with one MK abstaining and 26 MKs not present.

* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘Government policy increasing the social gaps’ was defeated 31-57 with 32 MKs not present.

* MK Levi-Abekasis announced the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee seeks to split a bill into two. It was approved by an 8-0 vote.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Courts Bill

Speaker Rivlin thanked the opposition for removing their planned 18-hour filibuster of the ‘Grunis Bill’. He announced the coalition and opposition have agreed on a four hour discussion instead.

Justice, Law and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) announced that MK Katzeleh’s (N.U.) amendment will repeal the controversial 2007 amendment, passed by then Justice Minister Friedman, that prohibits a Supreme Court Justice 67 years old or older from being appointed Supreme Court President.

Opposition Leader Livni stated that she doesn’t discuss legislation from the podium often. She blasted the bill as undemocratic and a retroactive personal bill aimed at picking the next Supreme Court President. She charged that Netanyahu doesn’t know what democracy really is. She attacked Netanyahu, Rotem and the government for advancing this bill. She announced in English, ‘it’s not done’. She spent most of her ten minute speech slamming a different bill that would change how bar association members are appointed to the judicial selection committee. She compared Netanyahu to a dictator who cares more about being the leader, much more than leading.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said that he was disgusted that people who weren’t participants in the committee discussions show up a minute before the vote on a bill they haven’t even read. He said that all of the opposition’s suggestions were written in the protocol and no one else heard them. He said that the coalition is so strong that all of the opposition’s speeches tonight won’t do anything either. He appealed instead to the viewers of the Knesset debate and complained that the coalition is engaging in dangerous legislation that is changing the rules for the courts, journalists, activists and academics. He called the government anti-democratic and said it is flooding Israeli society with a tsunami of anti-democratic bills. He called on the press to be brave and keep reporting the extremist governments crimes. He lectured to the Israeli people not to give up on their freedom and to support the opposition.

MK Bielski (Kadima) said that he refused to switch the table of the desk of his Ra’anana mayor’s office because he didn’t want to feel that the desk was his own. He said it is important for elected officials to remember they are public servants. He credited MK Elkin’s defection from Kadima to Likud with turning the coalition into a finely oiled machine. He stated there is no serious opposition in the Likud to Netanyahu and he will easily win re-election. He slammed the bill as a dirty agreement among corrupt people and parties. He called on the government to be moderate and to accept some of the opposition’s requests.

MK Shai (Kadima) called today a black day for Israeli democracy. He talked about his event with his 100 journalist friends where they discussed the government’ attack on Israel’s free press and democracy. He said that if he loses the vote, it doesn’t mean he is wrong. He said that democracy is not about the majority controlling the minority, it is about the majority protecting the minority. He slammed the government for their twisted outlook on democracy and told them to save Channel 10. He charged that Israeli citizens are outraged by the government’s legislation and they will pay for it in the ballot box. He said that the late Prime Minister Begin would have been against this bill.

MK Molla (Kadima) condemned the attack of a ultra-orthodox girl by secular kids earlier in the day. He quoted MK Katzeleh from a paper of last year where he said the goal of the bill is to change the Tel Avivian elitist dictatorship through a Grunis administration. Molla asked if we are public officials or coalition officials. He asked how Katzeleh can blast Netanyahu from the opposition and the result is that the coalition passes one of his bills. He called on adopting a presidential system similar to that of the United States to ensure the protection of Israel’s democracy. He said that personal bills are bad and destroying Israeli democracy. He called Justice Minister Neeman corrupt and said Neeman was Foreign Minister Liberman’s messenger.

MK Whbee (Kadima) recalled two and a half years ago when Katzeleh nominated Netanyahu for Prime Minister and within weeks how much Katzeleh regretted that decision. He asked Katzeleh to ponder that. He noted that Rotem and Yisrael Beitenu voted for the 2007 amendment, finding it curious they would want to repeal it in 2012. He charged that this bill harms Israeli democracy and makes today a black day. He charged that Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) is shutting down Channel 10 on purpose and is doing Netanyahu’s bidding. He said that Katzeleh is not even getting credit for the bill and instead Shas and UTJ are.

MK Khenin (Hadash) explained he opposed the personal 2007 Friedman amendment and he opposes the personal repeal for the purpose of helping Justice Grunis and hurting Justice Naor. He went on to slam the planned change to the bar association, a month after the elections. He said these bills are immoral and must be stopped. He slammed MK Ariel’s (N.U.) spot on the judicial selection committee and suggested submitting a bill to change that.

MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima) talked about a leadership convention he attended. He spoke about his legislation initiative that would prevent the 38.7% of female soldiers from pretending to be religious in order to get out of military service. He said that the 96% of women getting out of their military service by a fax should be prevented from doing so. He slammed the government bill, which he called illogical, and asked Deputy Speaker Akunis (Likud) and Katzeleh to help promote his bill. He noted that 52% of first graders are not in Zionistic schools and a solution must be found soon. He slammed the government for manipulating him and his logical bill.

MK Barakeh (Hadash) said that as someone who opposed the 2007 amendment he would have supported repealing the amendment if it wasn’t being repealed retroactively in order to support Grunis’ candidacy. He slammed the capitalistic government which, he said, leads to a fascist extremist anti-democratic government.

MK Agbaria (Hadash) suggested that Katzeleh is preparing his run for Prime Minister and is starting to position his soldiers in the right places before elections. He charged that it is obvious that there is a corrupt bargain struck between Grunis and Katzeleh. He said that he has noticed how settlers have been appointed to high positions in government, the police and the military. He noted that the settler and religious demographics are growing at a higher speed and Katzeleh is preparing the ground for his run for Prime Minister.

MK Abesadze (Kadima) said she is against personal bills. She went on to quote Menachem Begin and said that he would be against this bill. She warned that this extremism is leading to the exclusion of women from society and will eventually prohibit women from politics. She claimed there is a lack of democracy in the government. She charged that the government is silencing the media. Katzeleh interrupted and noted it was the liberal government that shut down Arutz Sheva and jailed him.

MK Swaid (Hadash) slammed the personal bill. He said that Katzeleh is trying to pull a Newt Gingrich by having the legislators stamp the judges rulings, as opposed to the other way around. He went on to slam the occupation.

MK Tibi (R.T.) congratulated Katzeleh for being stubborn and fighting for his conservative justice’s quest to become Supreme Court President. He asked why Katzeleh doesn’t like Justice Miriam Naor and why he wished to keep her from the presidency. He said that Katzeleh’s determination led to a victory. He said no one really understands how one man, an opposition MK and a fascist, can change the face of the Supreme Court presidency. Katzeleh interrupted and noted that current Supreme Court President Beinisch supports the bill. Tibi fired back that Naor should be the next president.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) said that the Israeli Supreme Court violated international law and gave legitimacy to the settlements and the occupation. He charged that after tonight’s vote Israel can no longer claim to be a democratic country, since the Supreme Court President is elected by the parliament’s majority. He said that Israel grows closer to Syria every day, a country that claims to be a democracy, when everyone knows it is a dictatorship. He said the appointment of settler Justice Solberg is the rubber stamp of killing the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and acts as an assassination of the system as we once knew it.

MK Cabel (Labor) told Katzeleh and Rotem that their attempts to change the outcome of the Supreme Court and who leads it will come around like a boomerang and hurt them. He said that he can’t recall another time when Israeli democracy was at an all time low. He stated he is a moderate and doesn’t usually say such things. He said committee discussion is no more, it is just sides of coalition versus opposition. He warned that lines have been crossed that can’t be undone and tonight another one is being crossed.

MK Herzog (Labor) said that even the legal advisers of the Knesset committees are against all of these anti-Supreme Court bills. He said this conduct of passing all of these retroactive bills is problematic and shows the coalition cares nothing about democracy.

Culture and Sport Minister Livnat (Likud) announced that the she is among the many ministers who are against the Bar Association Bill but that she fully supports this bill. She noted that this bill is repealing a 2007 personal retroactive bill that was meant to prevent Justice Grunis from being appointed president in favor of Justice Naor. She said that no other country can claim a 4.8% economic growth with less than  5% unemployment. She said that she can’t recall another time like this in Israel’s history.

MK Braverman (Labor) said that this is the worst parliament Israel has ever seen. He said it is dangerous when the majority rules the minority and doesn’t care for the minority. He said the elitists are the important part of Israeli society and must be maintained. He told Livnat that liars figure and figures lie. He expressed his support of the American battle of the 99% against the 1%. He concluded by quoting Menachem Begin.

MK Majadele (Labor) told MK Rotem and MK Katzeleh that this bill embarrasses every democratic country. He called Katzeleh an elephant that is hiding behind a mouse. He said he heard that many Likud ministers were against this bill but he can’t find them. He asked where they were when the other racist bills were passed. He said that what was done to the Jewish people for 2,000 years in exile is now being done by the Jews in their own land.

MK Ben Simon (Labor) said that the movement to discredit the elitist Supreme Court, elitist media, elitist socialists and the elitist academia started with Netanyahu’s first term in 1996. He said that Begin, Shamir and Sharon never would have allowed any of this to happen. He said instead the Likud is supporting the extremist National Union.

MK Gal-On (Meretz) said that she would have supported the repeal if it wasn’t retroactive and it wasn’t Katzeleh’s bill. She charged that there is a right wing activism against the Supreme Court. She said there is an unholy agreement between Liberman and the settlers, who both seek revenge on the previous Supreme Court. She said that Katzeleh is a disgrace and it is unacceptable that he is trying to end judicial activism through a Grunis presidency, with the surprising support of the coalition. She charged that Katzeleh is avenging his Arutz Sheva empire that was badly damaged by the Supreme Court, which also threw him in jail. She said that Katzeleh isn’t even ashamed to promote his bill to the media and slam the current system.

MK Gilon (Meretz) charged that Katzeleh is building an illegal outpost within Israeli law with this bill. He said that Katzeleh’s plan is to appoint many settlers to the Supreme Court, where the reality shows “Survivor” and “Big Brother” rule.

MK Horowitz (Meretz) said the problem with a problematic personal bill is that it can’t be just. He questioned why Katzeleh is proud of this bill. He said the timing of the bill is problematic and is undermining the trust of the public in the Supreme Court.

MK Zahalka (Balad) charged that the Likud seeks to control the Supreme Court. He said the government is crossing the lines of acceptable parliamentary conduct with this and other retroactive bills. He quoted President Nixon’s Vice President Spiro Agnew’s opposition to changing the rules in the middle of the game. He noted that former Egyptian President Mubarak attempted for 30 years to change the Egyptian Supreme Court, and Katzeleh is able to accomplish what Mubarak didn’t. He slammed MK Zeev (Shas) for heckling him and for trying to paint himself as an anti-Arab racist MK. He said that the Supreme Court will no longer be liberal and will now have a conservative face.

MK Katzeleh (N.U.) agreed there is disagreement and debate in the Israeli public on the role and makeup of the Supreme Court. He quoted liberal Professor Meni Mantor, who criticizes the Supreme Court’s decision to revoke Israeli laws and said it has led to the delegitimizing of the courts and current system. He slammed the opposition MKs who attempted to hang him over the past few hours. He responded that because of 41 days and Beinisch’s refusal to retire 41 days early, Grunis was going to spend almost three years under Naor, who is younger than him. He quoted from Ha’aretz, which he called the home field court paper for the Tel Aviv elite, which blasted the bill. He called on the Knesset to support the bill.

Chairman Rotem said he understands why Kadima is against repealing the 2007 Justice Minister Friedman amendment they passed. He quoted former Meretz leader Yossi Beilin’s 2007 speech calling on the Knesset to repeal this amendment as soon as possible. He quoted MK Khenin who said the same thing. He called on the opposition to follow Beilin and Khenin.

The bill’s paragraphs were approved 55-37, 56-36 and 56-37.

The objections to the bill were defeated 37-55, 13-75, 37-56, 36-56, 35-57, 37-57 and one by a raise of hands. Other objections were withdrawn.

The bill passed its third reading 57-37.

Two Temporary Amendments to the Defense Service Bill

Deputy Prime Minister Ya’alon (Likud) explained the amendment would extend the temporary amendment that places army veterans in the prison service through the end of 2015 for the purpose of dealing with security prisoners.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) supported the bill. He went on to condemn the press’ incitement against the ultra-orthodox, which has led to violence against the ultra-orthodox community, and called it anti-Semitism. He slammed Finance Minister Steinitz (Likud) for saying that anyone who has more than eight children is irresponsible. He recalled when Ben Gurion gave awards to anyone who had more than ten children and that former Foreign Minister David Levy (Likud, Labor, Gesher) has 12. He asked if David Levy is irresponsible.

The first bill passed its first reading 20-1 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.

Deputy Prime Minister Ya’alon announced the amendment would extend a temporary order in the defense service for another year.

The second bill passed its first reading 18-2 and was sent to the Defense Committee.

Amendment to the Penal Code Bill

Justice, Law and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem explained the amendment would determine how judges decide the penalty for breaking the law. He said that it is important to decide in which cases the minimum penalty should be used and in which cases the maximum penalty should be used and this bill sets specific tables for determining such cases. He noted that the bill will take effect in six months. He expressed pride on the balance his committee brought to the final version after 22 committee meetings.

The bill passed its second reading 14-0.
The bill passed its third reading 13-0.

Amendment to the Courts Bill

Justice, Law and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem explained the amendment would help make the caseload of the courts easier and more efficient by allowing certain cases to be transferred to courts that have a smaller caseload.

The bill passed its second reading 15-0.
The bill passed its third reading 16-0.

 

Amendment to the Terms of Probation Bill

Justice, Law and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem explained his amendment would force those who are released by a presidential pardon and then commit the same crime at a later date to serve the remainder of the first sentence they had received prior to the pardon in addition to their second sentence. He added that this amendment extends to security prisoners and foreigners as well.

The bill passed its second reading 16-0.
The bill passed its third reading 16-0.

MK Danon (Likud) thanked the Knesset for approving his bill. He said that terrorists who get out of jail early in prisoner swaps and return to terror should serve the rest of their first sentence before serving the sentence for their second crime.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

Deputy Prime Minister Ya’alon explained his amendment would fund the development of services for children at risk.

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

—————————————————————————————————

This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s January 2, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/00078812.doc

Two telephone polls conducted on 18 January 2011 among a random sample of 501 respondents with a sampling error of 4.5%. Army Radio aired the results and Channel 10 broadcasted the results the following day. The difference between the two polls was in one poll Livni was leading Kadima and in the other Mofaz was the party chairman. The poll shows that a Mofaz led Kadima would lose four seats, two to the Likud, and a seat each to Labor and Yair Lapid. If Livni leads Kadima the Nationalist Camp nets 67 seats and the Center-Left-Arab Camp nets 51. If Mofaz leads Kadima the Nationalist Camp nets 69 seats and the Center-Left-Arab Camp nets 49.

Sceneario 1:

26 [27] Likud
17 [15] Yisrael Beitenu
14 [08] Labor
13 [28] Livni Kadima
07 [---] Yair Lapid Party
07 [11] Shas
06 [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
05 [04] National Union
04 [03] Jewish Home
03 [---] Aryeh Deri Party
03 [03] Meretz
02 [05] Independence
02 [---] Am Shalem (MK Amsellem)
11 [11] Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad

Sceneario 2:

28 [27] Likud
17 [15] Yisrael Beitenu
15 [08] Labor
09 [28] Mofaz Kadima
08 [---] Yair Lapid Party
07 [11] Shas
06 [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
05 [04] National Union
04 [03] Jewish Home
03 [---] Aryeh Deri Party
03 [03] Meretz
02 [05] Independence
02 [---] Am Shalem (MK Amsellem)
11 [11] Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad

The Knesset’s Wednesday session lasted about twelve hours. Five of the 21 bills discussed were advanced after passing their preliminary readings. Eight bills were not voted on, and one bill was turned into a motion to avoid defeat, while seven bills were defeated. The controversial Tzohar Bill was among the bills advanced, as was MK Miller’s bill that passed despite government opposition. A Basic Law protecting the Return Bill was defeated.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced changes to a joint Funds and Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee. MK Wilf (Independence) and Deputy Minister Cohen (Shas) will replace MKs Yachimovich (Labor) and Cohen (Shas). He added that MK Pinyan (Likud) will be a permanent substitute, as will MKs Tibi (R.T.) and El-Sana (R.T.). The measures were approved 5-2.

* Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) and Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) answered urgent queries.

* Funds Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) announced his committee’s request to split a VAT bill into two. It was approved 37-0.

* The traditional monthly opposition request to speak on ‘The Netanyahu government’s failure in the political, economic and social sectors’ was discussed by 15 MKs, Deputy Health Minister Litzman, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Livni.

* Five of the eight motions discussed were sent for further discussion in the various committees by the votes 9-2, 13-0, 8-0, 10-0 and 5-3. Two motions were not voted on, and a motion on ‘The need for a Parliamentary Inquiry Committee on the exclusion of women in Israeli society’ was defeated 31-48.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Inspection of Prices of Commodities and Services Bill

MK Azoulay (Shas) explained his amendment would require government supervision on prices of baby commodities. He said that diapers, formula and other daily baby items are overpriced and their prices must be placed under the government microscope for the purpose of creating a maximum cap on those items. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill in order to gather government support.

Lawyers’ Comptroller Bill

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) explained that his original bill would create the position of a comptroller for lawyers in order to protect lawyers’ standing in society. He slammed the government lawyer Lador for opposing the bill and noted he has support from most of the MKs in the State Comptroller Committee. He listed many cases in which district attorneys framed innocent men and the courts later released the wronged men. He warned that some district attorneys are corrupt and creating a comptroller to sort them out will merely empower all lawyers in Israel. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill in order to gather government support.

Electronic Waste Reduction and Recycling Bills

MK Horowitz (Meretz) explained his original bill would create a solution for recycling electronic waste in order to reduce the toxic waste in landfills by 70%.

He said that this bill will create jobs and that there are precious minerals in electronic waste that can be reused, like gold. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill in order to gather government support.

MK Khenin (Hadash) explained his similar amendment would do the same thing. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill in order to gather government support.

 

Amendment to the Memorial Day in Israel Bill

MK Matalon (Y.B.) explained his amendment would prohibit the collection of money for Memorial Day rallies and functions. He said it is disgusting that public institutions dared to charge people who lost their family members to attend Memorial Day gatherings and his bill will prohibit such behavior in the future.

Homefront Minister Vilnai (Independence) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 25-1 and was sent to the Culture Committee. Minister Vilnai announced he voted against the bill by mistake.

Mandatory Identification Badge and Identification of a Public Official Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained his original bill would make it mandatory for all policemen and other public officials to wear their identification badge when they are performing their duties. He said it is unacceptable that policemen would hide their identity and prevent citizens from knowing who they really are.

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan (Likud) said that he doesn’t support the bill but the government has decided by a narrow margin to support it. He agreed that there should be more transparency with public officials including the publication of their salaries and their work phone numbers.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 15-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Amendment to the Employment of Women Bill

MK Cabel (Labor) explained his amendment would grant women the right to be absent from work for two hours of their work day while their husband is on reserve duty.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) expressed government support for the bill if it would exclude women who work in education.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 28-0 and was sent to the House Committee to decide which committee will discuss the bill further.

Regulating the Activities of Retired Heads of State Bill

MK Ben Simon (Labor) explained that his original bill would regulate the activities of retired heads of state and prevent them from doing certain things. He cited former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who went from the prime minister’s office to arms dealing in New York, and called it unacceptable. He said that former prime ministers shouldn’t be allowed to enter the private sector at all and must remain public officials.

Environment Minister Erdan (Likud) expressed government opposition to the bill and slammed it. He said that this is a personal bill targeted at Prime Minister Netanyahu and if it was really meant to be transparent the bill would have applied to all MKs.

MK Ben Simon slammed Erdan and Netanyahu.

The bill was defeated 16-41-1.

Banning the Use of Mobile Phones in Educational Institutions Bill

MK Bibi (Kadima) explained his original bill would put an end to children using cell phones in classrooms. He said that sending text messages during class is unacceptable and it should be illegal. He noted a study that linked child cell phone usage to child illness. He stated that children should be allowed to enter school and leave school with the cell phone, but during school hours it should be in the locker. He mentioned that in the Knesset and in many businesses phones are not allowed in meetings and asked why schools should be treated any differently.

Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) said that he agrees with the bill in principle but expressed government opposition to the bill. He stated this bill would be impossible to enforce and it is better to add it as a provision to an internal set of regulations inside the education ministry. He said that he spoke with officials in New York City, which has a city provision prohibiting cell phones, and said that he supports municipalities that decide to pass such provisions.

MK Bibi slammed Sa’ar for not supporting his bill nor promising to support the idea of the bill through other means.

The bill was defeated 21-46-1.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

MK Bibi explained his amendment would change the regulations for old age pensions for people who work up to the age of 70. He said the new regulations would allow the person to work half the year from age 67 to 70 and still enjoy the benefit of later old age pensions. He warned the current situation doesn’t encourage people to retire at 70 instead of 67 and his bill would save the government money.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that those who choose to retire later in life don’t really need their pensions. He said the difference between nine months and six months isn’t such a big deal and his ministry can’t afford it. He said that his budget is NIS 6.5 billion annually and he uses that budget to help those who really need it.

The bill was defeated 17-41.

Amendment to the Sale of Apartments Bill

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) explained his amendment would limit the legal component of real estate costs. He said that lawyers take up to 2.5% of the apartment’s price at the closing and his amendment would lower it to 0.5%. He slammed MK Rotem (Y.B.) for instructing Tourism Minister Misezhnikov (Y.B.) to tell the government to oppose the bill. He said a vote against this bill is a vote against young families trying to purchase their first homes. He slammed Yisrael Beitenu for opposing the bill and hurting the new immigrants who vote for them. Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) asked Sheetrit to postpone the vote on the bill and allow the government to reconsider and support his bill. Sheetrit agreed.

Amendment to the Companies Bill

MK Sheetrit explained his amendment would prohibit a member of a bank or public board of directors to serve as a director for a private economic company. He said that this bill is correcting a conflict of interest 101. He named a private company whose 16 directors all serve as directors in public companies and banks. He charged that a small group of people are playing around with Israelis’ money. He listed other companies which the daily newspaper Marker revealed as having similar boards. He slammed the corrupt business tycoons for naming bank directors to their board in order to increase their credit or debt. He warned this situation can lead to a collapse of the Israeli financial system as we know it.

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan announced his opposition to Sheetrit’s previous bill. He went on to express government opposition to the current bill. He explained Justice Minister Neeman agrees to prevent the bank element but not the whole public sector. Eitan warned that overhauling all of Israel’s major companies’ directorates is a dangerous thing and changes must be made gradually.

MK Sheetrit asked why the government supports the 53 directors in the public sector that serve as directors for private companies simultaneously.

The bill was defeated 27-42-1.

Amendment of the Public Health Ordinance Bill

MK Whbee (Kadima) explained his amendment would prohibit fluoridated drinking water. He said that many studies have shown that fluoride is unhealthy and every western country except Ireland has prohibited putting fluoride in drinking water. He told Litzman to wake up before he has another Eltroxin mishap that put 200,000 Israeli thyroid patients at risk. He thanked the 57 MKs who co-sponsored his bill.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman expressed his and the government’s opposition to the bill on the grounds that fluoride in the right dosage makes drinking water more healthy. He said that fluoride has been found in drinking water since 1945 and 400 million people in 60 countries drink such water today, Israel joining that group in 1983. He cited studies from WHO, ADA, AMA and CDC that all show that fluoridated drinking water is healthier than non-fluoridated water.

MK Whbee said that 400 million people out of 7 billion people is a small minority and there is a reason why over 6 billion people are no longer drinking fluoridated water. He said that rarely are 57 MKs who co-sponsor a bill wrong.

The bill was defeated 20-44-1.

Amendment to the Lending Textbooks Bill

MK Tirosh (Kadima) slammed the government for trying to head towards digital schoolbooks and called the measure unrealistic. She explained her amendment would allow parents to borrow required books from the school or education ministry instead of bookstores. She stated each year the children will give the textbooks to the grade under them when they complete the year. She added that she seeks to prohibit the sale of textbooks that are not approved by the education ministry.

Education Minister Sa’ar returned Tirosh her glasses that she forgot at the podium. He expressed his and the government’s opposition to the bill. He noted that 1,100 schools already have such a program and that his ministry can’t afford the budget of extending the program to all schools. He stated that under his leadership he has tripled the funding of the program and he will do his best to extend the program as much as the budget allows without the need for legislation. He slammed MK Bar-On (Kadima), who heckled his speech and compared Netanyahu to Mussolini. Deputy Speaker Akunis (Likud) removed MK Bar-On from the plenum after he chose to heckle him as well. Sa’ar asked Kadima to act with some dignity and finished his speech.

MK Tirosh said that Sa’ar is a great minister but she doesn’t know if she can trust the next minister and that is why she proposed this bill. She asked Sa’ar to delay the vote on the bill and Sa’ar agreed.

Gag on Racism, Inciting Racial Hatred and Racial Registration of Corporate Documents Bill

MK Molla (Kadima) blasted Deputy Speaker Akunis for his treatment of MK Bar-On. Deputy Speaker Akunis defended himself and slammed Bar-On for acting like a bully. Molla said his original bill would increase the sanctions on racists and expand the current definition of racism in Israeli law. He slammed Israeli authorities for not prosecuting enough racists each year.

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan said that Molla’s bill damages the current balance between what is covered under freedom of expression and what is considered racism. He warned that this bill would destroy freedom of expression as we know it. Eitan said he doesn’t deny there are many racists in Israel, but he expressed concern that this bill goes too far.

MK Zuaretz (Kadima) said that many religious people and rabbis incite against other Israeli minority groups and under this bill they would be sent away to jail.

The bill was defeated 24-35.

Motion/Amendment to the Holocaust and Heroism Yad Vashem Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained her amendment would form a Righteous Gentiles and Raoul Wallenberg Day in memory of the many people who gave their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. She thanked her co-sponsor MK Ben Ari (N.U.) for supporting her throughout the process of the bill. She noted that Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, saved 100,000 Jews and was killed for it, and he deserves a day named after him. She agreed to turn the bill into a motion in order for the bill not to be defeated. She slammed Yad Vashem for opposing the bill and noted that Yad Vashem Chairman Rabbi Lau agreed to support the bill if the date is changed to January 17th.

The motion passed 20-0 and was sent to the Culture Committee.

Amendment to the National Health Insurance Bill

MK Solodkin explained her amendment would increase the discount on Holocaust survivors’ medications.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman asked Solodkin to postpone the vote on the bill for two months in order for his ministry to find a way to support the bill. MK Solodkin agreed, and Litzman thanked her.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

MK Agbaria (Hadash) explained his amendment would reduce the social security payment for medical school students in an institution of higher education outside of Israel. He said that many Israelis study medicine outside of Israel because there aren’t enough places, not because they want to leave Israel, and because of this they shouldn’t have to pay full social security payments. He stated that discriminating against these students is wrong and there is no reason why they should pay more social security than Israeli students if they aren’t even in the country. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill in order to give the government more time to change its mind.

Basic Law: Return Bill

MK Eldad (N.U.) explained his intention is to protect the current Return Bill by turning it into a Basic Law. He said that a bill that is the pillar of Israeli democracy should be elevated to a Basic Law in order to protect its Jewish identity and Zionistic ideology. He warned that if the bill isn’t fortified the Supreme Court might repeal the Return Bill and Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish state. He slammed Shas and UTJ for opposing the bill. He blasted Labor and Meretz for opposing the bill and told them they can no longer calls themselves Zionists.

Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) thanked MK Eldad for a remarkable speech. He said that he doesn’t see a reason to elevate the Return Bill to become a Basic Law. He noted that Kadima MKs Sheetrit and Bielski are among many centrist MKs that seek to repeal the original Return Bill. He expressed his and the government’s opposition to the bill.

MK Eldad told Yishai that he just gave his least convincing speech ever from the Knesset podium. He asked Netanyahu to save his dignity and abstain. He asked Foreign Minister Liberman, who supported the bill, to instruct his MKs to vote for the bill. Liberman responded that he supports the bill but he can’t do as Eldad asked. Eldad warned the MKs they are voting against word for word the Return Bill. He called on all of the real Zionist MKs to at least not vote if they aren’t allowed to vote for it.

Interior Minister Yishai responded that the Supreme Court treats the bill as a Basic Law so there is no reason to give the bill a promotion.

The bill was defeated 10-36.

Amendment to the Marriage and Divorce Ordinance Bill

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan (Likud) explained that MK Kirshenbaum’s amendment would allow Jews to go through the marriage registration process in any area or city under the authority of the religious affairs ministry. He said the current situation allows the couple to register only in the cities in which they live and some of those cities discriminate against certain groups. He agreed this bill will solve that problem. He added that the government also supports a similar amendment by MK Schneller (Kadima).

Religious Affairs Minister Margi (Shas) slammed the bill. He said that it is unacceptable that a different minister would answer this bill when it is a bill that is under the authority of his ministry. He said that there is no problem of Jewish couples registering in any city. He attacked the MKs who he said are trying to win political points over an unnecessary bill. He said he is willing to support Schneller’s bill that has some sense but he can’t support Kirshenbaum’s.

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan said he had no idea that Margi wanted to present the government’s position to the bill considering he opposed it. He clarified that he wouldn’t have presented the government’s position if he knew Margi wanted to do so.

MK Gafni (U.T.J.) objected to the bill. He said that Margi was playing too nice. He slammed Kirshenbaum for a sloppy piece of legislation in an issue that she has no clue about. He said Tzohar Rabbis will put the religious affairs ministry out of business and warned all MKs to oppose the bill. He charged that if the haredim were in a Kadima-led government this bill never would have passed.

MK Kirshenbaum (Y.B.) said her bill is better than Schneller’s and that his bill won’t be voted on today but her bill will. She called on the whole Knesset to support the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 57-15 and was sent to the House Committee in order to determine which committee will discuss the bill further. Prime Minister Netanyahu voted against the bill by mistake.

Bonus for Immigrant Teachers Bill

MK Miller (Y.B.) explained his original bill would encourage good teachers who are immigrants to stay in the public sector by providing them bonuses, so that they don’t leave for the private sector. He said that most of the math and science teachers are immigrants and it is in the country’s best interest to keep them in the public school system.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill. He warned that if it does pass, Miller must agree to lower the amount of the bonuses in order to secure the 50 MKs needed to fund the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 35-5 and was sent to the House Committee in order to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.

Panels Polling Company conducted an internet based poll on Thursday Jan 10 and the poll was broadcasted by Knesset Channel 99 later that evening. The nationlist camp nets 62 seats and the Center-Left-Arabs camp nets 58 seats. The poll listed the 13 parties currently represented in Knesset with the Lapid and Deri parties as options.

If elections held were today who would you vote for?

Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

27 [27] Likud
16 [---] Yair Lapid Party
14 [15] Yisrael Beitenu
14 [08] Labor
10 [28] Kadima
08 [11] Shas
06 [03] Meretz
05 [04] National Union
05 [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
03 [03] Jewish Home
03 [---] Aryeh Deri Party
03 [04] Hadash
03 [04] Ra’am-Ta’al
03 [03] Balad
00 [05] Independence

New Wave conducted a telephone poll for the daily newspaper Makor Rishon on 10 January 2012 of 620 respondents and the poll was published on 13 January 2012.

If elections held were today who would you vote for?

[expressed in Knesset seats]

Current Knesset seats in [brackets].

28 [27] Likud
15 [08] Labor
15 [---] Party lead by Yair Lapid
14 [28] Kadima
14 [15] Yisrael Beitenu
09 [11] Shas
05 [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
05 [03] Meretz
03 [03] Jewish Home/NRP
02 [04] National Union
10 [11] Arab parties
00 [05] Independence

Panels Polling Company internet poll conducted on 9 January and published on Channel 99

Current Knesset seats in [brackets].
29 [27] Likud
20 [---] Lapid
13 [15] Yisrael Beitenu
12 [08] Labor
09 [28] Kadima
37 [42] Other Parties

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