The Knesset’s Monday session lasted about six and a half hours. Fourteen bills were discussed. Three bills became law after passing their third readings, and eleven bills were advanced after passing their first readings. The two Tzohar Bills were advanced in their first readings. The bills would allow couples to register for marriage at any rabbinate, including the Shoham municipality that employs lenient Tzohar rabbis. The ultra-orthodox MKs voted against those bills as well as another bill that deals with the inheritance of adoptive family members.
- Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The government’s failure in dealing with the underlying causes of violence and the lack of a comprehensive integrated plan to enhance personal security in the Arab sector’ was defeated 16-62-1.
- Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The most bloated government in Israeli history tramples on democracy and is mistreating civilians in Israel’ was defeated 15-63-1.
- New Kadima MK Akram Hasson (Kadima) gave his first Knesset speech after replacing the recently deceased Kadima MK Gideon Ezra.
- Speaker Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Yachimovich gave speeches marking Jerusalem Day.
- Technical changes were approved on the Aviation Bill 32-0 and 35-0.
- Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz’s request to fix a technical issue with a bill was approved by a 27-0 vote.
- Appropriations Committee Chairman Gafni’s request to fix a technical issue with a bill was approved by a 16-0 vote.
- MK Pinyan (Likud) presented the Interior Committee’s request to fix a technical issue with a bill, which was approved by an 18-0 vote.
Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill
Appropriations Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) explained the amendment would give tax breaks on donations to non-profits that work to encourage the settlement industry in Israel. He confessed it will include Judea and Samaria, but it will also include the Negev and Galil. He said this is not a right or left bill, this is a Zionist bill meant to help the Zionist settlements wherever they are.
MK Ariel (N.U.) called the bill one of the most worthy bills the 18th Knesset will pass. He said that every Jewish settlement, wherever they are in Israel, is important, and non-profits that encourage settlement should be given additional tax breaks. He said this bill will help Jews from Eilat to Katzrin.
MK Khenin (Hadash) said there is no reason to hide and called this a settler bill meant for Judea and Samaria. He said those who live in Israel are jealous of the tax money and subsidies spent there and now they will be even more jealous. He called settlements in Judea and Samaria illegal according to international law and the Geneva Convention and called for a true two-state solution. He asked the Knesset and those who support the peace process to oppose and defeat the bill.
The bill passed its second reading 31-13.
The bill passed its third reading 33-13.
Sheltered Housing Bill
Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) called this original bill of 35 pages and hundreds of clauses among the most complicated bills he has ever brought to the Knesset for approval. He said it took three years of committee meetings to discuss and finalize the bill. He explained the bill decides who is eligible for sheltered housing and the regulations of the sheltered housing program. He thanked his staff for helping him with such a complex bill. He thanked the recently deceased MK Gideon Ezra for working hard on this bill.
MK Molla (Kadima) recalled attending committee meetings with Ezra and backed Ezra’s positions. He said this was a balanced bill that helps all sides. He thanked Chairman Katz for ordering sandwiches during the late night committee meetings.
MK Edery (Kadima) said that important bills like this explain why it is a good thing that early elections were avoided. He said thousands of people will enjoy the fruits of the bill.
The bill passed its second reading 36-0.
The bill passed its third reading 36-0.
Amendment to the Parties Bill
House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) explained the amendment would allow parties to validate their membership information with the population registry before primary elections. He noted that this arrangement already exists during the period of time before general elections, so there is no reason not to have this information exchanged during the primary process as well. He said the bill will take effect in one year. He noted that Likud, Kadima and Labor support the bill.
The bill passed its second reading 21-0.
The bill passed its third reading 21-0.
Amendment to the Money Laundering Prohibition Bill
Minister Margi (Shas) explained the amendment would update the money laundering law to reflect international law on the subject, the new FATF regulations and anti-terrorism measures.
MK Eichler (U.T.J.) talked about the importance of the Jewish month of Sivan. He said that all of the Jews today are descendents of the Jews who kept the Torah, not the Jews who tried to seek enlightenment elsewhere.
The bill passed its first reading 15-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.
Amendment to the Income Tax Bill
Finance Minister Steinitz (Likud) praised the previous bill that severely harms the organized crime syndicates. He explained the amendment would give provident fund tax exemptions on rental income for long term apartment rentals. He expressed hope this will encourage people to put up their additional apartments up for rent since it will be a money making process. He stated this bill should increase the long term rental industry and will lead to more building.
The bill passed its first reading 15-0 and was sent to the Appropriations Committee.
Amendment to the Penal Code Bill
Minister Margi explained the amendment would place a ban on people leaving the country if sentenced to community service. He said this will prevent these criminals from leaving the country and never paying their debt to society.
The bill passed its first reading 12-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.
Amendment to the Criminal Procedure Bill
Minister Margi explained the amendment would impose an obligation on a prisoner who receives early release to sign a paper stating he agrees to avoid committing the same crime again.
The bill passed its first reading 14-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.
Amendment to the Evidence Ordinance Bill
Minister Margi explained the amendment would repeal the laws regarding military traffic court, which has not existed since 1975.
The bill passed its first reading 15-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.
Amendment to the Municipalities Ordinance Bill
Minister Margi explained the amendment would allow the municipalities to conduct the elections for internal agricultural committees without the Interior Ministry taking any part of the election. He noted that the bill would take effect in 2018.
The bill passed its first reading 15-0 and was sent to the Environment Committee.
Amendment to the Local Authorities Bill
Minister Margi explained the amendment deals with when and how the government can grant a local authority assistance during an emergency.
The bill passed its first reading 14-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.
Two Amendments to the Marriage and Divorce Ordinance Bill
MK Schneller (Kadima) explained his revolutionary breakthrough amendment would allow any Jewish couple to submit a request for registration of marriage with any Israeli city rabbinate they choose. He said the hundreds of Israeli couples that leave Israel to Cyprus every year to register for marriage is worrisome and this bill will allow flexibility to Jewish couples so they can find a rabbi they like in a city they like. He said the bill will require the rabbinate to create a computerized system to follow each step of the marriage registration process. He added the bill requires the rabbi who is registering the couple to speak with the rabbi in both the groom’s and bride’s communities in order to learn more about the couple. He said certain rabbis act problematically towards the couples and no couple should have to be penalized for being trapped in the city in which they live. He stressed they should be free to be registered by any authorized rabbinate rabbi. He concluded that this bill is supported by most rabbis and follows Jewish law.
MK Elkin (Likud) explained he is presenting MK Kirshenbaum’s (Y.B.) bill since she is overseas. He said that her bill is very similar to Schneller’s. Gafni heckled him, and Kadima defended Elkin who was busy smiling and giggling. He explained that the bill will start with a pilot program for 15 cities. He asked what the objection is to the bill since a Rabbi that can register couples who live in Tel Aviv should be able to register couples who don’t live in Tel Aviv.
MK Gafni said that the logic of this bill means that if he doesn’t like the court in Haifa, he should be able to ask to be tried in Be’er Sheva. He said that this Tzohar rabbi bill is dangerous and could cause problems such as a brother marrying his sister. He told Schneller and Elkin that it is unbelievable that two religious guys are trying to break apart Jewish marriage as they know it. He slammed Likud for breaking the status quo when it was the leftist Kadima that supported the ultra-orthodox. He told Schneller that it will be him that causes the separation of religion from state. He told Elkin that he doesn’t speak the truth. He called on the Knesset to oppose the bill.
MK Zuaretz (Kadima) told Gafni that he is driving a wedge between religion and state by refusing to allow technological updates.
MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) called it a historic bill that is pro-religious and anti-Cyprus. He said this is a big achievement for Kadima because the Kadima national unity government enabled a political atmosphere that allows the advancement of this bill. He noted that this bill had been shelved because of the previous coalition and this bill is one of the reasons why it is a good thing early elections were avoided.
MK Molla said that Gafni puts things in your face. He said the ultra-orthodox don’t want to give up on their control and money and the politicizing of religious issues. He called on them to act as the House of Hillel and not as the House of Shamai. He called orthodox Jews extreme and slammed their behavior towards converts. He said Ethiopian Jews aren’t allowed to get married in most places and this bill will set them free.
MK Zeev (Shas) said that this is a free market bill that allows couples to shop around for the right Rabbi that will believe they are Jewish or that has lower standards. He said in Judaism there are principles and this bill violates them. He slammed the Tzohar rabbis and charged this is an attempt of a hostile takeover of the rabbinate. He said the 55 Tzohar rabbis do their job but to give them more power is very dangerous.
MK Shai (Kadima) said that Gafni should show a little flexibility on this issue and allow this technical change. He stated the bill will help Judaism.
MK Maklev (U.T.J.) said MK Schneller presented a false show. He said this is not an orthodox bill nor does it follow Jewish law. He stressed the chief rabbis and a majority of important rabbis are against this bill. He stated this bill harms tradition. He said that change is not in the Jewish dictionary.
Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) expressed government for the two bills and called for them being merged into one.
MK Schneller answered Gafni that a religious service is not a court case and if that is what Gafni believes, he has a bitter disagreement with him. He said that this bill will prevent problems, not cause them. He said his bill is not meant for the Tzohar rabbis, it is meant for all rabbis, and for freedom. He went on to praise the Tzohar rabbis who he said praise the name of God. He said this bill is what God wants.
MK Gafni said he apologizes to all the rabbis who will be harmed by this bill. He said his party is viewing this vote as a no-confidence motion against the government.
The first bill passed its first reading 25-8 and was sent to the Justice Committee.
The second bill passed its first reading 28-8 and was sent to the Justice Committee.
Amendment to the Law and Administration Ordinance Bill
House Committee Chairman Levin explained the amendment would regulate how committees make technical corrections to bills.
MK Eichler said that Gafni is fighting for future generations so that they will remain Jewish. He said the monopoly of the rabbinate is important and must be maintained. He said that today the world is boycotting Judea and Samaria and tomorrow they will boycott Tel Aviv. He asked if Israel does not support their Judaism, why should the international community? He said that the way Jerusalem Day was covered was very sad since it focused on the negativity towards Jerusalem’s ultra-orthodox community. He said there are some good Tzohar rabbis but the previous bill gave them too much control and power.
MK Ben Ari (N.U.) slammed the Israeli Police Commissioner, who has decided to instruct his policemen to ignore laws that prohibit illegal immigrant workers. He said when a policeman decides he is a minister then we have a problem with democracy since it is his job to follow orders not to choose from them selectively. He noted that refugees come with their wives and children, but these illegal immigrants come as only men, which shows their true intentions. He called on the police to bring an end to the rape cases by deporting the illegals.
The bill passed its first reading 20-1 and was sent to the House Committee.
Amendment to the Inheritance Bill
MK Horowitz (Meretz) explained the amendment would equate inheritance rights so that children by adoption will receive rights equal to those of biological children. He said certain people do not know they are adopted and when they find out they are adopted at the age of 50 because of a death in the family, they do not get any inheritance.
MK Ben Ari called on the public to attend public rallies and protests supporting southern Tel Avivians in their struggle against the illegal immigrants. He said inheritance battles tear families apart. He called on people to write a will to correct misunderstandings.
MK Zeev said the Torah (bible) says women and adopted children do not receive inheritance. He said there is a chance someone can receive inheritance from both the biological and adoptive parents at the price of the other siblings.
MK Schneller said a will or present is not inheritance and if the bill changes its language it can fit Jewish law. He said the purpose of the bill is justified but Jewish law should be respected.
MK Maklev said that adopting is important, and the ultra-orthodox community adopts more than the secular population. He said that Jewish law does not prohibit giving to adoptive children, it just prohibits including them if there is no will. He said most of the problems in Israel today concerning adoptive children are because of family rivalries that cut people out, not because of Jewish law. He said that this bill is taking money away from someone else and that is a problem.
The bill passed its first reading 20-7 and was sent to the House Committee.
This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s May 21, 2012, session.
Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/02478012.doc