The Knesset’s Monday session lasted exactly eight hours, ending atmidnight. 20 bills were discussed. Nine bills became law after passing their third readings, nine were advanced after passing their first readings, and two were advanced after passing their preliminary readings. The Knesset’s last chance to topple Netanyahu’s government before spring break was unsuccessful, ensuring the survival of the government until July 30 at the earliest. Among the interesting bills that became law were ones placing restrictions on the modeling industry as well as increasing sanctions in messy divorce cases. Among the interesting bills advanced were two dealing with civil and national service.
- Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The Netanyahu government’s tax hurts the middle class and continues to raise the price of fuel and electricity’ was defeated 34-48 with 38 MKs not present.
- Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The Netanyahu government’s failure in the political, economic and social sectors’ was defeated 32-49 with 39 MKs not present.
- Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The rise in electricity and fuel prices along with the neglect of the universities and colleges’ was defeated 27-48 with 45 MKs not present.
- MK Adatto (Kadima) announced the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee’s request to correct a technical flaw in a bill. It was approved 7-0.
- Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) announced his committee’s request to correct a technical flaw in a bill. It was approved 10-0.
- Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) answered 10 queries at the end of the session.
Amendment to the Income Bill
Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) explained the amendment will keep women who leave battered shelters on welfare for a month after they leave. He called on the Knesset to oppose the government objection.
Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) said the government objection would limit the way the welfare is distributed.
The bill’s paragraphs passed its second readings 56-0, 60-0 and 59-0.
The government objection was accepted 32-25, although Chairman Katz and Speaker Rivlin voted against it.
The bill passed its third reading 60-0.
MK Gal-On (Meretz) thanked the Knesset for approving her bill and slammed the government for its objection that watered it down.
Amendment to the Sport Driving Bill
Education, Culture and Sport Committee Chairman Miller (Y.B.) explained the amendment would transfer the responsibility of the bill to the Culture and Sport Minister.
The bill passed its second reading 34-0.
The bill passed its third reading 36-0.
Amendment to the Magen David Adom Bill
Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the amendment would authorize Magen David Adom to be allowed to charge money for a service even if there is no ambulance ride. He asked the Knesset not to approve the government’s objection.
Deputy Finance Minister Cohen explained the government objection would take away the power of Katz’s committee on the implementation of the bill and keep it within Cohen’s ministry.
The bill’s paragraphs passed its second readings 38-0 with one MK abstaining, 42-1 and 37-1.
The government’s objection was accepted 26-12.
The bill passed its third reading 38-1.
Amendment to the Environmental Protection Bill
Interior and Environment Committee Chairman Cohen (Shas) explained the amendment would require that the reports, requirements and documentation of factories’ pollution emissions into the environment be available on the ministry website. He said this would bring transparency to how each factory is harming the environment. He suggested that the transparency will lead to factories cleaning up their act.
MK Khenin (Hadash) thanked the government and coalition for supporting his bill and his initiative.
The bill passed its second reading 33-0.
The bill passed its third reading 32-0.
Environment Minister Erdan (Likud) thanked the Knesset for approving the bill and for bringing environmental justice to an OECD nation.
Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill
Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) explained the amendment would give tax breaks to public institutions and non-profits that encourage operation in the settlements. He said that the country isn’t encouraging settlements so it is important to give a pat on the back to the people who are encouraging settlement in Israel. He rejected claims that Judea and Samaria residents will benefit from this bill and stressed that this bill is meant to help the Galil and Negev. He said it is very sad that there are MKs who have decided to oppose the bill because there is the shadow of a doubt that settlers in Judea and Samaria might benefit.
MK Molla (Kadima) said that Elkin’s tricks are known to the public. He said the Negev and Galil have nothing to do with this bill and this bill has Judea and Samaria written all over it. He said he was surprised that Funds Chairman Gafni was suckered into this bill and that Elkin pulled one over on him. He slammed the Independence Party for supporting this bill and the settlement in Judea and Samaria. He said that Israel will eventually leave Judea and Samaria so there is no reason to waste billions of shekels there.
MK Avital (Kadima) asked why the word “Zionist” was removed from the settlement bill and suggested that it isn’t a kosher bill. He said this bill cannot be supported if it is not clear who will benefit from this bill and who will not.
MK Schneller (Kadima) praised the bill and slammed his Kadima friends. He said someone who votes against this bill is voting against the Zionist enterprise. He asked why Judea and Samaria residents are not allowed to receive education or funding for other necessary items. He asked why a Zionist party would vote against Negev and Galil, because it might help Judea and Samaria too. He told Kadima they are running away from Zionism and the rest of the country. He said it is an embarrassment to try and politicize Zionism.
MK Khenin said the bill is dangerous and problematic. He charged this is a political bill that goes against international law, The Hague’s decisions, and the fourth Geneva Convention since it encourages settlements across the 1967 borders. He said that Zionism has no place in Israeli law or within the Israeli state.
MK Agbaria (Hadash) slammed Israel for the 500 Arab villages that were destroyed in the 1948 war and replaced with Jewish settlements. He slammed Israel for stealing land from the Bedouins today in order to build more Jewish homes. He said this summer will lead to another social justice movement that will protest the money being poured into Jewish settlements. He told the government to stop lying and just tell the truth already.
MK Zahalka (Balad) said that Elkin has brought Israel to the lowest moral point ever with this bill and it shows that he isn’t embarrassed of anything. He asked how Elkin can fine human right’s non-profits with one bill and give incentives to those who break international law in a different bill. He said that not only is Judea and Samaria Arab land, but the Negev and Galil are also Arab land that should not be given to Jewish hands.
MK Ben Ari (N.U.) blasted MK Avital, telling the former head of the elite Matkal unit that he has lost his mind. He said that Zionism is Israel and Israel is Zionism. He slammed the Arab MKs for saying that Lod, Nazarith and Be’er Sheva are illegal Jewish settlements. He said Zionism is not a bad word and should be supported by the Jewish MKs. He slammed Jews for telling the army to go to hell.
MK Shnaan (Independence) said that he supports the bill because Zionism was taken out of the bill and non-Jewish settlements will receive the same benefits as Jewish ones.
MK Elkin said that Kadima’s position means that no bill should include a connection to Judea and Samaria. He told Kadima they should be ashamed of themselves.
Diaspora Affairs Minister Edelstein (Likud) stressed that anyone who read the bill knows that Judea and Samaria isn’t part of the bill. He said he doesn’t understand how a bunch of MKs came up and gave speeches that have nothing to do with the bill.
The bill passed its first reading 34-14 and was sent to the Funds Committee.
MK Avital gave a war story from the 1982 war. He said the question of the definition of Zionism is the most important political issue on the table. He said he is more Zionistic than Ben Ari and Ben Ari should shut up.
Civil Service Bill
Science and Technology Minister Hershkowitz (J.H.) explained the original bill will define how the civil service and national service operate. He said national service has been around since the 1970s when the national religious girls started giving back to their community and, after several expansions, has grown to more than 15,000 volunteers. He said the Supreme Court instructed the government to regulate civil service in legislation and that is what this bill accomplishes. He said this bill doesn’t really change anything because it finalizes the status quo of civil service in law. He rejected claims that civil or national service should be mandatory and warned this would lower the number of volunteers. He thanked the civil service members for giving to their communities even though they are not required to by law.
MK Eichler (U.T.J.) asked who is a citizen. He went on to slam the theory that those who don’t serve in the military or civil service should not be entitled to citizens’ rights. He called Yisrael Beitenu a racist party against Arabs and religious Jews. He said that ultra-orthodox Jews who have ten children are also performing civil service and are doing a great service to their country. He asked why ultra-orthodox volunteer institutions like Yad Sarah or Zaka or Hatzala are not part of civil service.
MK Zahalka said that the bill talks about volunteers and not a mandatory service; however, it places sanctions on people who don’t volunteer, which turns the service into a mandatory one. He said that his Arab youth cannot be a part of this Jewish strategy and won’t be a part of this Zionist education. He said this is an attempt to take away citizenship rights.
MK Zoabi (Balad) said the Arabs look at this bill as a political ideology bill that goes against democratic principles of citizenship. She said this bill is not legitimate and it is injustice. She said that the inequality of requiring a citizen to do something to earn citizenship is unspeakable. She said that whoever gives her rights won’t get gratitude from her. She said her citizenship isn’t a present and she won’t thank the country for not throwing out her family in 1948.
MK Ben Ari explained how he educates his eight children about their rights and duties. He told Zoabi that every citizen has rights and duties, something that exists in every normal country. He said equality means paying income tax and VAT, something the Arabs don’t feel like doing. He said affirmative action is failing this country. He said he will oppose the bill because they are calling national service civil service in order not to offend those who reject the state.
MK Herzog (Labor) said many Arabs and Jews want to serve in the civil service but there isn’t room for them. He called on Hershkowitz to find more room and expand the civil service to include them.
MK Agbaria said that sharing the burden isn’t just about the military; it is about health, education and other things too. He said civil service isn’t just for Arabs. He charged the government is trying to make the Arabs servants. He said certain Arabs have decided they are Arab until the age of 18, are Israeli from 18-19 during the civil service and are Arab again from 19 on.
MK Sarsur (R.T.) said that Arabs like volunteering, but this bill doesn’t create a volunteering society. He said that if the civil service is distributed to benefit the Arab municipalities then they can get behind it rather than deciding Arabs will go and help Jews in Jewish municipalities. He said the Arab and Druze people are the ones who need the benefit of a civil service, not the Jewish people.
MK Ganaim (R.T.) said that the Arabs built this country and led the construction efforts until today. He charged that the Arabs don’t trust the Jews and don’t feel that they are equal, which is why they do not want to serve in the civil service. He said as long as civil service is somehow connected to the military, the Arab country will reject it as it rejects the military.
MK Tibi (R.T.) said a volunteering bill is an oxymoron. You can’t force a person to volunteer and that is why this bill will fail. He said there are Arabs who want to volunteer but they don’t trust the system or the government. He charged the Arabs who do civil service do so because of financial reasons and they later regret it.
MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said that equality is important, but it is a two-way street. He said that duties and rights go hand and hand. He said he wants equal opportunity for Arabs in infrastructure and education too, but it needs to also be in community service. He said that this bill is running away from the problem that everyone needs to be part of the burden. He called on the Arabs and ultra-orthodox Jews to serve in the civil service and give back to the country.
MK Zeev (Shas) said the bill simply defines what the civilian service is and what it means. He said this bill isn’t forcing anyone to do anything and they should read the bill before opposing it.
MK El-Sana (R.T.) said civil service is not volunteering. He said there is no equality since the Arabs have the highest unemployment and no opportunities. He said this bill isn’t good for the Muslims, so he won’t support it.
Science and Technology Minister Hershkowitz said he doesn’t believe his ears. He said this bill doesn’t change who serves and who doesn’t serve. He said 13,000 of the 15,000 who participate in civil service are national religious girls. He asked why the Arabs are up in arms against this bill since it doesn’t really apply to them. He said there is no mandatory aspect to this bill, and it is not meant to deal with the problems of inequality in society. He said both Jews and Arabs receive support from the national service girls who work in hospitals. He said this bill has nothing to do with the military since it is the Science and Technology Minister who is presenting it. He said providing them with free transportation to and from volunteering has nothing to do with basic citizen rights. He said this bill doesn’t give any citizen rights to those who serve and told the Arab MKs that they should have read the bill.
The bill passed its first reading 18-12 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill.
Right for National Service Bill
MK Orlev (J.H.) took credit for Hershkowitz’s bill that he said he wrote back in 2004 when he was a minister. He said this bill would eliminate the budget restraints on the national service and allow whoever wants to serve in the national service to do so. He said the bill would force the national service to find a place for every volunteer.
MK Zahalka opposed the bill. He said this bill splits the citizens into two groups, those who served the country and those who did not serve the country. He said the two different packages of rights for the two groups are unfair and discriminatory. He said the Supreme Court is being changed to lean more to the right, and these new laws might be allowed to stand.
The bill passed its first reading 16-6 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill.
Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) explained the bill will increase the competition among the credit card companies as well as regulate the insurance and interest policies on credit.
MK Eichler eulogized the massacre of the Jews in France. He spoke about his latest visit to France, where the Jews live behind iron gates and live with anti-Semitism. He talked about the media bias in France, which is pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. He slammed the E.U. Foreign Minister for her words, which he said were anti-Semitic. He said the delegitimacy of the Jews and Israel in the press leads to these types of massacres.
MK Ben Ari said that every day rockets hit the south and yet the Israeli press tells us that it is silent down there. He said the 70% success of the iron dome project is not acceptable and stressed it must be higher. He said that as a customer of the defense establishment he demands 100% security, not 70% security. He said there are a weak defense system and a weak government in place.
The bill passed its first reading 17-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.
Amendment to the Military Cemeteries Bill
Transportation Minister Katz explained the amendment would give policemen, prison guards, Mossad agents, Shabak agents and other defense establishment personal the same rights that the military provides their own according to the bill.
The bill passed its first reading 14-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill.
Amendment to the Placing Resuscitation Devices in Public Places Bill
Transportation Minister Katz explained the amendment would give the Industry and Trade Minister additional authority to implement this bill according to how he sees fit.
MK Zeev said this was a very good bill and he supports it fully.
The bill passed its first reading 16-0 and was sent to the Health Committee.
Amendment to the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Bill
Transportation Minister Katz explained the amendment would increase the financial sanctions on companies that violate the bill.
The bill passed its first reading 15-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.
Environmental Solution for Electrical Items, Electronic Equipment and Batteries Bill
Environment Minister Erdan explained the bill would come up with an environmental solution for dealing with electronic waste. He said that every year there is 85,000 tons of electronic waste and this bill will lower that by implementing government programs such as recycling or requiring electronic suppliers to take back old appliances when new ones are bought.
MK Zeev said it is an important bill and he supports it. He said that he is worried that gangs will start buying into the electronic waste programs and make money off melting the materials down.
MK Khenin said the health and environment concerns of electronic waste are worrisome and this is a great way to solve the situation. He said that although it is less than 1% of all waste, it is 70% of the dangerous type of waste.
MK Ben Ari asked why the price tag Jewish terrorists are in the headlines, but when an Ashkelon man is killed by an Arab there is not one headline. He went on to list other murders of Jews at the hands of Arabs and slammed those who choose to keep nationalistic crimes quiet. He said equality means equality in everything. He said that although a soldier was stabbed by an Arab in the light rail of Jerusalem, it wasn’t called nationalistic. He discussed a long list of similar crimes.
The bill passed its first reading 18-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.
Temporary Amendment Restricting the Use and Registration of Used Car Parts and Actions Bill
Transportation Minister Katz explained the amendment would result in theft prevention by increasing supervision in Israeli garages. He said it is increasingly difficult for Arabs to sell off parts of a car to Israeli garages with a drop of 37% in past years, and this bill will make it even more difficult. He said the amendment will go from a temporary to a permanent amendment as well.
The bill passed its first reading 17-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.
Amendment to the Payment to Former Captives Bill
Coalition Chairman Elkin announced the amendment would raise the welfare payment for former captives over the age of 80 by 25%. He said 1,350 of the 1,700 former captives are over the age of 80 and will benefit from this bill.
The bill passed its second reading 11-0.
The bill passed its third reading 11-0.
MK Yoel Hasson thanked the Knesset for approving his bill and for helping the small and decreasing number of former captives. He said this bill, which was fast tracked in two weeks, will lead to an increase in welfare starting Passover eve.
Amendment to the Municipal Taxes and Government Taxes Ordinance Bill
MK Gilon (Meretz) explained the amendment would grant municipal tax exemptions to protected factories that employ the mentally challenged. He said this bill will assist these protected factories, which are in danger of closing. He thanked Noga Goldfinger for helping him with his bill.
The bill passed its second reading 8-0.
The bill passed its third reading 8-0.
Weight Restriction in the Modeling Industry Bill
MK Adatto (Kadima) explained the bill is meant to restrict hiring models under a certain BMI as well as photoshopping without including a note that a photo is not natural. She said that this would help fight eating disorders since little girls would not look at skinny as attractive. She said this bill will become law on January 1, 2013. She thanked her co-sponsor, MK Maklev (U.T.J.), for helping her throughout this process. She said that anorexia affects 1,500 victims in Israel every year and many unfortunately end up as fatalities. She went on to thank a long list of people who helped as well as the media that helped advance this bill.
The bill passed its second reading 10-0.
The bill passed its third reading 10-0.
Amendment to the Penal Code Bill
MK Adatto explained her amendment would increase the punishment for assaulting a social worker. She said that she received special permission to bring up this bill and merge it in committee with a similar bill.
The bill passed its preliminary reading 7-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.
Amendment to the Rabbinical Courts Bill
MK Herzog explained the amendment would change the time table on holding judgments on the law of divorce in order to reduce the waiting period between court dates at the Rabbinate. He added that the bill also increases the sanctions the Rabbinate can place on someone who doesn’t agree to the court ordered divorce.
MK Orlev said that he hopes his bill will require the courts to use more sanctions and that he had hoped for a stronger, far-reaching bill. He slammed the government for splitting some of his bill off but called on the Knesset to approve the bill anyway.
MK Schneller told a story of how this bill has already convinced a man to agree to give in and divorce his wife. He thanked Israeli Chief Rabbi Amar for agreeing to support this bill and suggested the Supreme Court would never agree to allow the Knesset’s restrictions on them. He thanked a long list of Rabbis for being helpful with the bill. He also thanked his assistant Jonathon Javor.
The bill passed its second reading 11-1.
The bill passed its third reading 9-1.
Deputy Speaker Maklev did not give a reason for his objection to the bill.
Amendment to the Civil Defense Bill
MK Levi-Abekasis (Y.B.) explained the amendment would establish a wireless internet network connection in bomb shelters of border municipalities. She said that the youth who wait in bomb shelters during rocket attacks are in distress and bored. She suggested that an internet connection will help the youth pass the time and will make their stay there more comfortable. She said this way people can also listen to radio, watch television and keep informed in other methods through the internet.
The bill passed its preliminary reading 4-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.
Amendment to the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Bill
Women’s Rights Committee Chairwoman Hotovely (Likud) explained the amendment would allow people to call emergency abuse help centers and have that information wiped from telephone records, as well as make sure those calls are free. She said that women and children who are sexually or physically abused should be protected from the abusive person who could find out about the calls.
The bill passed its second reading 6-0.
The bill passed its third reading 3-0.
Deputy Speaker Levi-Abekasis thanked the Knesset for approving her bill and thanked Bezeq for agreeing not to charge for calls made to these emergency call centers.
This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’sMarch 19, 2012, session.
Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/01624512.doc