Monday’s session of over six and a half hours ended after 10:30 PM. In a marathon bill day of 22 bills, 21 of them were passed. The story on this day is about the one that didn’t pass, the Criminal Procedure Bill. This is the first time the government has struck out on a bill during the summer session and embarrasses the coalition of 74 MKs, of whom only two showed up to vote, to Justice Minister Neaman’s dismay. Seven bills were passed in their third readings and the other 14 bills all passed in their first readings. The opposition began the afternoon with their failed attempts to topple the government.

Short Summary on Non-Bills

  • The Knesset defeated Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled “Netanyahu once again chooses to cut back and strike the weaker sectors to finance the government’s pompous extravagance” by a vote of 36-62 (22 MKs not present).
  • The Knesset defeated the Arab parties’ no-confidence motion titled “Continuation of the demolition policy and disregard of government proposals to freeze the demolition” by a vote of 10-65 with 15 abstaining (30 MKs not present).
  • Speaker Rivlin gave a speech in memory of former minister Yehuda Amital. Prime Minister Netanyahu and other MKs spoke as well.
  • Agriculture Minister Simhon and Deputy Defense Minister Vilnai answered queries during the session.
  • There were no motions other than the no-confidence motions.

Amendment on the State Education Bill

MK Miller (Y.B.) explained his amendment would change the appointment of education ministry council members from political appointments to professional appointments.

The bill passed 13-0 in its second reading and 9-0 in its third reading.

Deputy Speaker Walhaba (Kadima) initially forgot to conduct the vote on the third reading and incorrectly named the bill a law. MK Miller quickly pointed out the mistake and the vote on the third reading was conducted.

Implementing the agreement between Israel and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Bill

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman MK Rotem (Y.B.) explained that this bill will officially finalize the agreement reached with the OECD.

The bill passed 13-0 in its second reading and 12-0 in its third reading.

Deputy Speaker Walhaba (Kadima) once again forgot to conduct the vote on the third reading and incorrectly named the bill a law. MK Rotem quickly pointed out the mistake and the vote on the third reading was conducted.

Amendment on the Negev Development Authority Bill

MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima) explained his amendment would promote agricultural tourist attractions in the Negev and would recognize smaller towns that do not have the minimum population to qualify as an official town.

MK Eldad (N.U.) had five official objections to the amendment focusing on the fact that this bill would give the Bedouin tribes control of Israeli lands. After the Finance Committee agreed to his changes, Eldad withdrew his objections and called on the Knesset to vote in favor.

MK Levin (Likud) expressed that he felt that this bill will save the Negev from the Bedouin tribes who are land grabbing. MK Zachalka and MK Asana heckled his speech. He called the illegal building a tool of the Bedouins who do not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

MK Swed (Chadash) said that many MKs were going to support the bill originally until MK Eldad and Levin intervened. He explained that if Jewish farms that were built illegally are now being legalized, it is a problem that the illegal Bedouin buildings will not be included as well. Swed accused the Jewish farmers of land grabbing.

MK Chanin (Chadash) called the bill an attempt to declare war on the Bedouins. He called the idea of a Jewish farmer land grab a disaster for the environment and a waste of land resources. MK Hasson interrupted and asked what his words had to do with the bill.

MK Mula (Kadima) said that the law is not anti-Bedouin. He added that the Bedouins’ side of the law will be brought up separately at a later date. He suggested that the MKs support this bill and keep in mind that there will be another one soon. He claimed that in the committee they worked very hard to make sure there would not be one word discriminating against Bedouins. He called the unrecognized Bedouin towns a big stain on the Israeli government.

MK Zachalka (Balad) called the Jewish farmers settlers who are land grabbing Bedouin land. He branded the law undemocratic and racist. Zachalka said that the Jews have no right to live in land that was once under Arab control.

MK Asana (Ra’am-Ta’al) called it a bill that will help 51 Jews and hurt 100,000 Arabs. He said that the 51 farmers will now control 81,000 dunam. He asked how there could be a land grab if Arab immigration is illegal. He called the Bedouins victims of Zionism, an anti-democratic and racist thing. He got into a screaming match with MKs Levin and Finian. Deputy Speaker Walhaba regained order.

The bill passed its second reading 25-5 and its articles by the votes of 26-6, 27-6, 26-6 and 27-6. The Knesset defeated the objections by the three Arab parties 6-27, 6-25, 6-26 and 2-25. The bill passed its third reading 27-6.

Amendment of the Income Tax Ordinance

Funds Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) explained the amendment would give an income tax discount to university students who have jobs.

The bill passed its second reading 18-0 and passed its third reading 14-0.

Amendment on the Civil Veterans Bill

Interior and Environment Committee Chairman Azulai (Shas) explained his bill would create a new position in every city or local authority called “Senior Citizens Adviser”.

The bill passed its second reading 15-0 and passed its third reading 14-0.

Amendment on the Fuel Economy Bill

Finance Committee Chairman Okunis (Likud) explained the amendment would promote competition in the fuel market. He added that this bill took 12 years to bring to a second reading and if passed will make it much easier for new gas companies to enter the market. Okunis said that rich private interests threatened him and tried to apply pressure to kill the bill. Okunis said he was pleased that he did not give in to the temptations and stood by this very important law.

The bill passed its second reading 14-0 and passed its third reading 9-0.

MK Charmesh (Kadima) thanked Chairman Okunis for advancing the bill and for standing up against the pressure until the last minute to get the bill passed.

Amendment on the Witness Protection Bill

Interior and Environment Committee Chairman Azulai explained that the amendment would force every Knesset committee meeting that involves a person who is under witness protection to be a closed door meeting with no more than five MKs present and the meeting will not have a protocol.

MK Finian (Likud) asked for a vote by a show of hands instead of an electronic vote, Deputy Speaker Walhaba agreed. MK Ze’ev (Shas) pointed out that would mean the Knesset protocol wouldn’t know who voted what and Walhaba agreed to change it back to an electronic vote. The bill passed its second reading 12-0 and passed its third reading 12-0.

Temporary Provision on the Security Service Bill

Deputy Defense Minister Vilnai (Labor) explained that his amendment would extend the temporary provision of men serving three years in the IDF instead of two and a half years as required by law. This extension will be in effect until December 2011.

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

Amendment on the Israel Defense Forces Bill

Deputy Defense Minister Vilnai explained his amendment would allow career soldiers to have more choices in how they plan their pensions.

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

Grazing Bill

MK Ariel (N.U.) explained that his original bill would take the whole shepherding business and put it under government supervision and regulation. Ariel said that his bill will be merged with the government bill after him.

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

Regulation of Public Grazing Lands Bill

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Simhon (Labor) explained that his amendment, which was inspired by MK Ariel’s bill, will finally have some legislation on the grazing industry. Simhon called the bill an environmental bill that will prohibit sheep from land grabbing national park land. The bill requires every shepherd to get a license from the agriculture ministry.

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

Amendment on the Courts Bill

Justice Minister Neaman explained that the amendment would allow a suspect to request a gag order so that the press does not publicize his name and hurt his reputation. He was saddened that the press convicts people before the court rules.

MK Chanin expressed his support for the intention of the bill. Chanin said that in the committee he will ask that the bill go further to protect defendants.

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

Amendment on the Criminal Procedure Bill

Justice Minister Neaman explained that the amendment would reduce the number of times a defendant sees a judge while he is in detention. The amendment would extend the amount of time a judge does not need to see a defendant in detention from 90 days to 150 days. The amendment would also forbid a person from requesting a second appeal to his sentencing. He explained that this bill would eliminate 40% of a judge’s time that is wasted on just going through the motions. Neaman hoped this would speed up the legal process in Israel.

MK Chanin expressed opposition to the bill and called it undemocratic.

The government bill was defeated 2-4. This was the first government bill to be defeated in the 32 days of the summer session. Minister Neaman was furious asking how the MKs could oppose a Supreme Court committee. Deputy Speaker Walhaba told the minister that it was his own fault for not making sure he had enough votes before he asked to vote on the bill.

Amendment on the Legal Assistance Between Countries Bill

Justice Minister Neaman explained that the amendment would give Israel exemption from liability in certain cases without going against international law.

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

Amendment on the Criminal Procedure Bill

Justice Minister Neaman explained that the temporary provision will allow certain defendants to meet with their lawyer through video conferencing.

The bill passed its first reading 8-1 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Observation of Toddlers Daycare Bill

Minister Simhon explained that this original bill will require every toddler daycare to be under the observation of the industry and trade ministry.

The bill passed its first reading 10-0 and was sent to the House Committee to decide which committee would advance the bill.

Amendment on the Traffic Law Bill

Minister Simhon explained that the amendment would change the Traffic Ordinance provisions so that they apply to city trains. Simhon explained that this bill will help the Jerusalem light rail.

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

Amendments to the Knesset Rules Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin explained this will be his sixth amendment to the Knesset rules. This time it will force the opposition leader to be present at a prime minister 40 MK discussion.

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

Amendment on the Contracts Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin explained that his amendment would create absolute decisions with the general interpretation of a contract and take it out of the discretion of the courts.

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

Amendment on the Knesset Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin explained that his amendment would allow the confidential sub-committee protocols to be published at a later date when there is no longer reason for that meeting to be kept confidential. He hoped this would allow the public to judge their politicians even if it is ten years afterwards.

The bill passed its first reading 8-1 and was sent to the House Committee.

Amendment on the Lawyers Bar Bill

MK Shama (Likud) explained that his amendment would change the bureau institution elections protocol so that the Negev and Galil do not get more representation than the Tel Aviv district. The bill will give the Tel Aviv district the same number of seats to which their lawyer population entitles them.

The bill passed its first reading 5-2 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment on the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Bill

MK Gilon (Meretz) explained that his amendment removes the obligation of a deadline to obtain access for disability perks in the law.

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

Amendment on the Disengagement Plan Implementation Bill

MK Eldad (N.U.) explained his amendment had 37 co-sponsors and will give businesses and workers evicted during the disengagement additional compensation.

The bill passed its first reading 10-0 and was sent to the Funds Committee.

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