Archive for October, 2010

Wednesday’s session lasted about six and a half hours. Eight bills were discussed.  The Knesset advanced four of them and defeated the others. The bills that were advanced included a consumer protection bill, a crime fighting bill, a health insurance for returning citizens bill and a promoting minors’ rights bill. Most of the day was spent on queries and motions. Deputy Defense Minister Vilnai made headlines when he announced during a query that if he was the general in charge he would have kicked out of the army the religious officers who walked out of a women’s performance for religious reasoning of not wanting to hear “kol ishah” (a woman’s voice) instead of sending them to jail.

Non-Bills Summary

  • Urgent queries were answered at the beginning of the session by Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.), Deputy Defense Minister Vilnai (Labor) and Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.).
  • 7 motions were discussed towards the end of the session. As usual the MKs chose topics that have been in the news recently.  Four of the seven motions were passed unanimously and were sent to their relevant committees. The votes indicate how many MKs stayed for the motion portion of the day’s agenda and how they gradually decided to leave for the day: 21-0, 12-0, 12-0 and 7-0. The other three motions were not brought up to a vote after the MKs that proposed them were pleased with the government’s rebuttal.
  • Deputy Health Minister Litzman and Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon (Y.B.) answered queries at the end of the session.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Communications Law

MK Maklev (U.T.J.) explained that his amendment would forbid commercial companies from using an automatic dialing system that calls a person, hangs up, and forces the person to call the number back, forcing the person to pay unknowingly high rates for the call. Maklev said that he viewed this as a consumer protection law.

Communications Minister Kahlon (Likud) expressed government support for the bill. He explained that while this violation was already outlawed as part of the “Spam Bill”, some companies have found loopholes, and this bill will eliminate them.

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

Restricting Religious Activities in the Army – The Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Police Bill

MK Horowitz (Meretz) explained that his original bill would stop Jewish “missionizing” on army bases and police stations. He said that only licensed army and police rabbis should be allowed on army bases. He called for a complete separation of synagogue and state. He attacked the ultra-orthodox and praised the reform Jews. MK Gafni (U.T.J.) heckled that he was more of a Zionist than Horowitz was. Horowitz fired back that the secular majority of the country support this bill. He blasted the Chabad, Breslov Chasidim and other religious groups who carry out illegal religious practices such as the lighting of Hanukah candles, building of Sukkot, and handing out of doughnuts and mishloach manot. Speaker Rivlin interrupted and asked Horowitz to explain his problem with doughnuts. Horowitz responded that these “religious freaks” enter army bases without permission. Speaker Rivlin asked Deputy Defense Minister Vilnai (Labor) if this is true. Vilnai laughed and said that no one enters army bases without permission. Horowitz called the government killers of liberalism and stepped down.

Religious Affairs Minister Margi (Shas) attacked MK Horowitz, who claims to be a person of tolerance and then proposes a bill that is intolerant of religion and religious people. He asked why the Education Corps can bring into army bases lecturers, singers, standup comedians and authors who are not soldiers to preach culture and liberalism, while the Religious Corps can’t bring in people to build a Sukkah or hand out a doughnut. He slammed the Meretz party for claiming to be a universal party that cares for everybody, when all they do is attack the ultra-orthodox and spread “sinat chinam”. Speaker Rivlin added that this bill was racist against the religious because it would not restrict the non-religious people who visit army bases but only the religious people.

MK Horowitz challenged that all of the Education Corps guests that are invited have permission and that Chabad does not have permission. He called religious people damaging to the army. He added that the army should stop sending soldiers to religious institutions for Shabbat. He blasted the government for sending the religious affairs minister instead of the defense minister. Speaker Rivlin uncharacteristically expressed he would fight this bill as illegal on terms of racism if the bill passed.

The bill was defeated 10-54.

Periphery Public Housing bill

MK Tiviaev (Kadima) explained that his original bill would create public housing in the Negev and the Galil. He said that he was sent to the Negev city of Ofakim when he got off the plane from Russia and has been a proud Ofakim resident ever since. He told the story of his neighbor, Yisrael, who asked for public housing and was denied because the government is only giving public housing to people who currently live in the center of the country. He explained that his bill would allow every city in the Galil and Negev to allocate 25% of their public housing to their own city’s residents. Tiviaev complained that for 20 years the country has not built any public housing. He said that he tried to increase that the number, and after realizing that is not possible, wants to at least help the residents in the periphery out of their poverty. He agreed with one of the MKs who mocked him for living in Ofakim and asked the government to change it. He painted the sad picture of Ofakim, that offers no new houses or jobs, and how people are leaving the city for the center of the country. He pledged that this bill is not a budget bill but, rather, a community bill.

Immigration and Absorption Minister Landver (Y.B.) explained that she agreed with MK Tiviaev but that the government opposes the bill. She expressed hope that a committee discussing the public housing issue can offer a solution to this issue. She exposed that 12,000 people this year have submitted requests for 500 public housing vacancies.

MK Tiviaev responded that he finds it very interesting that the minister agrees with the bill and is voting against it. He charged that the government was turning the Negev and Galil into the trash bin of the country and said that those who oppose the bill are the guiltiest.

The bill was defeated 25-49.

Amendment to the National Road Safety Bill

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) explained his amendment would fix road safety deficiencies by allocating 25% of the payments for traffic violations to the Road Safety Authority. Sheetrit recalled that he started the authority when he was transportation minister over a decade ago. He exposed that Israel has the highest number of pedestrian road fatalities in the world at 30%. He guessed that people would be more willing to pay the fine if they knew that part of the money would go to prevention of traffic accidents. He remarked that Florida has this law, and it is very popular there.

Minorities Relations Minister Braverman (Labor) agreed that road safety should be improved but expressed government opposition to the bill. Braverman said that increasing funding to the police will be the easiest way to improve road safety and prevent accidents. He concluded by stating there is no reason to link one department’s funding to another, and it is important to keep everything on a simpler, national level.

MK Sheetrit responded that he was in shock from the nonsense he heard from the government.

The bill was defeated 25-52.

Local Authorities Highway Maintenance Bill

MK Bielski (Kadima) explained that his original bill would force the government to take responsibility for maintaining the roads which they paved 30 years ago and for which they then transferred the maintenance responsibility to the local authorities. Bielksi wondered if maybe it would have been better to lobby the bill. Speaker Rivlin opposed the bill and warned that it would cost the country billions of NIS each year. Bielski charged that coalition member and Tourism Minister Misezhnikov (Y.B.) was the person who first thought of the bill.

Minorities Relations Minister Braverman expressed government opposition to the bill and explained that most of the blame for that comes from the Israeli government system. He supported a presidential system, similar to America, and said until that point he would have to vote against the bill.

MK Bielski responded that he was disappointed with the government.

The bill was defeated 21-48.

Amendment to the Local Authorities Bill

MK Ezra (Kadima) explained that his amendment would eradicate violence in Israel. He explained that 80 of the over 200 city councils have been part of the “City without violence” program that MK Ezra enacted when he was Homeland Security Minister. He explained that he simply wanted to extend his program from 80 to all of the city councils.

Religious Affairs Minister Margi expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 35-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the National Health Insurance Law

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) explained that his amendment would, in certain cases, offer exceptions to shorten the waiting period to be entitled to national health insurance. He thanked Deputy Speaker Shama (Likud) for co-sponsoring the bill with him. Hasson explained that, currently, returning citizens who have been gone for a decade are not entitled to national health insurance for six months. He explained that this bill will give these people immediate national health insurance and will help promote the return of citizens living abroad.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman expressed his support and government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 24-0 and was sent to the Health Committee.

Amendment to the Penal Code Bill

MK Levy-Abekasis (Y.B.) explained that her amendment would force the government to award payments of compensation to minors who are injured while victims of a criminal offense. She noted that this bill met the most resistance of all the bills she has proposed.

None of the ministers were in the room. Deputy Speaker Shama decided that since Minister Begin (Likud), who was supposed to be there to answer for the government, was not there he would bring the matter to a vote.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 14-0 with one abstaining and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Tuesday’s session was about two hours. The only bill discussed was one that would give widowers more money from the “kitzbaot” (government payments) than they were entitled to before. The bill falls short of entitling widowers to as much money as widows receive. This led to seven male MKs from various parties complaining that men do not receive equal rights to those given to women. All of the MKs present agreed that they would support more male rights bills in the future. No ministers or female MKs were in attendance.

Non-Bills Summary:

  • Only 16 MKs participated in the weekly ‘One Minute Speech’ segment. The main topic was the budget passed the previous night after 1 AM.
  • The only motion of the day was one marking the 60th anniversary of the ‘Development Towns’ project, known as the “Pituach” cities in Hebrew. Speaker Rivlin started the discussion on the motion, six MKs followed him and Deputy Galil and Negev Minister Kara (Likud) summarized the discussion. There was no vote on the motion.

Bill Summary:

Amendment to the National Insurance Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman MK Katz (Likud) explained his amendment would increase the government payment to a widower to 6,000 NIS. He explained that the current law only entitles a widower to minimum wage, as opposed to the 8,500 NIS per month that widows receive. He hoped that in the future he could propose a bill that would bring true equality.

MK Molla (Kadima) complained that women get more money than men and called for true equality by giving the widowers 8,500 NIS instead of just 6,000 NIS.

MK Majadele (Labor) praised MK Katz on what he called one of the most important bills that he has ever seen. He stressed that this bill should have been passed long ago. He also thanked the co-sponsor of the bill MK Azoulay (Shas).

MK Zeev (Shas) said that this is among the great bills that are being passed in today’s age. He also praised the two-year budget that passed its first reading on Monday.

MK Plesner (Kadima) would not begin his speech because there was no minister in the room. When Deputy Speaker Danon (Likud) assured him that Communications Minister Erdan (Likud) was around, Plesner remarked that there was no minister in the room, unless Erdan had changed his identity. Plesner challenged MK Katz, who he said possessed parliamentary talents for convincing the treasury to support this bill, to press other social issues and include them to improve the proposed two-year budget.

MK Khenin (Hadash) celebrated the passing of the bill by complementing everyone involved with the bill. He called on MK Katz to pass more laws that will give equal rights to men. He added that this bill must be brought back to the plenum as soon as possible in order to pass it in its second and third readings. He criticized the government for not proposing the bill themselves.

MK Rotem (Y.B.) blessed MK Katz, MK Azoulay and the government. He blasted MK Khenin for attacking the government, noting that the bill is co-sponsored by two coalition MKs.

The bill passed its first reading 11-0 and was sent back to the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee.

It should be noted that there was no minister in the plenum during the entire discussion of the bill.

Monday’s session lasted nine and a half hours, ending at 1:30 AM. More than six of those hours were devoted to the opposition’s filibuster of the Bi-Annual Budget and the attached Arrangements Bill. At the end of the night the budget and Arrangements Bill passed their first readings 62-34 and 61-34, respectively. The opposition withdrew their weekly no-confidence motions in order to devote more time to opposing the budget. Two bills were removed from the Arrangements Bill and were discussed and voted on separately. I discuss in this post the two bills that were separated at length. As with past filibusters I chose not to write what each speaker said in order to keep my daily posts relevant and concise.

Combining Work Recipients Bill/Wisconsin Bill

Industry and Trade Minister Ben-Eliezer (Labor) explained that two years ago he was one of the biggest opponents of this bill but over time has come to support it. He said that this is the third time that this bill is being proposed and that he is willing to make changes to the current draft based on valid opposition to the bill. Ben-Eliezer said that it is unacceptable that 80,000 people have turned the government “kitzbaot,” or allowance payments, into a way of life. This bill will encourage people receiving kitzbaot, whether they are disabled, ultra-orthodox or a single mother, to go out into the work force. The minister admitted that the trial run of the bill had many flaws but warned that maintaining the status quo was more dangerous. He noted that the country will save money when these people have jobs and their kitzbaot are reduced. Ben-Eliezer asked the opposition to have a genuine debate with him and that he will attempt to meet them halfway. MK Sarsur (R.T.) heckled the speech.

MK Ghilon (Meretz) showed his ignorance at the start of his speech by calling Wisconsin a “nice city” in the northern United States. He added that Wisconsin sounds like Wissotzky tea. He said that the cost of the bill is four times the reward, although he did not say where he came up with that number.

MK Zuaretz (Kadima) slammed the ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel, saying that around the world their community works and only in Israel do they make money from not working. She expressed her concern that the problematic bill would place the lives of poor people in private company hands.

MK Solodkin (Kadima) recalled that the trial run of the Wisconsin Bill failed, and Labor Committee Chairman MK Chaim Katz (Likud) decided to end the trial run. She asked how a bill that sends 60-year-olds to train for a new job or sends new immigrants who don’t speak Hebrew to do Hebrew speaking jobs would work. She challenged that the Wisconsin Bill in the U.S. was successful because it was not as wide spread as Israel’s version would be. She charged that college graduates were working in minimum wage jobs.

MK Oron (Meretz) challenged the idea of sending those targeted by the Wisconsin Bill to private companies instead of giving them government jobs. He explained that since 2004 he has rejected this clause of the bill. He also asked that certain groups be exempt from participating in the bill. He challenged that no country has taken as many liberties with the bill as Israel has. He slammed Israel for being the only country to enact the bill without creating new jobs first. He also noted that in the trial run most of the people took degrading jobs.

MK Barakeh (Hadash) asked why the Likud would bring back a bill they rejected in a committee a number of weeks ago. He questioned if this was the first step that Israel is taking away from socialism and towards capitalism. Barakeh said that the government has a responsibility for those who collect money from the government and remarked that there is no reason for these people to work. He mentioned his belief that this will help the private companies slowly take over the country.

MK Swaid (Hadash) said that the bill does not create more jobs and that it will actually increase unemployment by flooding the workforce.

MK Agbaria (Hadash) challenged that if the bill was so good it wouldn’t take six years to pass. He asked why this bill is more important than a bill to fight unemployment. He wondered if the bill was connected to the private interests that would receive the cheap labor. He added that the jobs being discussed are mostly degrading jobs, and some of them cause health problems.

MK Tibi (R.T.) said that unemployment is not a fun thing. He expressed his feeling that this bill might give some unemployed people jobs, but they would be humiliating jobs so he was against the bill. He asked the government to focus on creating jobs instead. He said the ugliest girl cannot be saved by cosmetics.

MK Levy-Abekasis (Y.B.) thanked Speaker Rivlin for pressing Netanyahu and taking this bill out of the Arrangements Bill in order to have a detailed discussion. She approved the changes and said she was a fan of the current draft of the bill. She expressed hope that in the committee meetings there would be more encouraging updates.

MK Zahalka (Balad) said that this draft is the worst of the bill to date. He noted several “goats” that were placed in the bill, allowing Ben-Eliezer to take them out in order to distract everyone from the rest of the bill. Speaker Rivlin said that he agreed with MK Zahalka. Zahalka noted that during the trial period the companies that participated made money and the workers lost their dignity.

MK Yacimovich (Labor) noted that the Labor Committee discussed the bill and decided to reject it, therefore there is no reason to discuss it in the plenum. She revealed that a billion and a half NIS will be given to private companies that hire Wisconsin Project people. She slammed all the corrupt lobbyists who went door to door supporting the law. She blasted the idea that this bill would do any good for anyone aside from the private businesses. She assured the plenum that if this bill would be passed the Labor Committee would bury the law permanently.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) said that it is impossible to force someone to work if they don’t want to. He rejected the idea that people are collecting unemployment on purpose.

MK Molla (Kadima) charged that a corrupt bargain was struck between Labor and the Ultra-Orthodox parties in which they would agree to support both the Wisconsin Bill and the Giving Yeshiva Students Money Bill. He said that both are bad bills.

Industry and Trade Minister Ben-Eliezer responded by repeating that the current draft of the bill is a new bill and that the 13 MKs who spoke quoted the old bill. He said he heard a lot of reasons why they thought it was a bad bill but not one MK gave him an alternative. He assured that each individual is interviewed and given the right job for them. He responded to MK Solodkin that academics are not being given minimum wage jobs. He responded to MK Oron that he agrees that the government should also hire Wisconsin Project people. He responded to MK Tibi that there are no humiliating jobs and that making a living is an important value. He responded to MK Levy-Abekasis that the bill was a good bill and she shouldn’t worry.  Ben-Eliezer summarized that the current draft of the bill is a good one and called on all the MKs to support it.

The bill passed its first reading 57-34 and was sent to the Labor Committee. 29 MKs were not present in the room to vote.

Amendment to the Broadcasting Authority Bill

Communications Minister Kahlon (Likud) explained that this bill will help reform the Public Broadcasting Authority to meet the challenges of the future including technology and professionalism.

MK Oron blasted the minister for reading out a piece of paper that was given to him and said that Kahlon didn’t understand it. He warned that this bill would allow the political establishment to control the public broadcast by appointing its key figures. Deputy Speaker Whbee screamed at Minister Ben-Eliezer, who was on his cell phone instead of listening to the debate. Oron slammed the clause that would introduce an internet tax in addition to the television tax.

MK Horowitz (Meretz) told the Knesset that the problem with the public broadcast is that the government controls it and that this bill will reinforce that control. He noted that the bill will allow the government to appoint all 13 board members, beyond the director-general. He summarized that this bill will kill public broadcasting as we know it.

MK Shamalov Berkovich (Kadima) called the new public broadcast the BBC or the Bi-Bi-See, what Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu will allow the public to see. She noted that some of the changes in the reform won’t take effect until 2026 and questioned their legitimacy.

MK Barakeh rejected the bill as any type of reform. He said that he supported real public broadcasting and not the government funding its own television station. He also said he opposed the television tax. He asked how there can be real public broadcasting when its employees are forced to support the government or get fired.

MK Eldad (N.U.) blasted the television tax. He said that public broadcasting had been left-wing for too long and did not represent the average Israeli on the street. He warned that the new problem is that the government turned public broadcasting into a government television station and he opposed that too. He slammed the internet tax. Eldad asked if there will be a binocular tax too.

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) said this was a bad bill from a bad government. He also criticized the television tax and the decision to raise it. He noted that half of the population doesn’t pay the television tax anyway.

MK Akonis (Likud) defended the bill and said he would rather the government control public broadcasting than the judges, as it was before. He added that this bill will help the channel work as a fair and balanced channel.

MK Plesner (Kadima) compared the bill to a Soviet Union bill and said this will bring the country back to the 1950s. He said that it was a corrupt bill.

  • It should be noted that public television in Israel started in the mid-1960s.

MK Sarsur called to abolish public broadcasting and the television tax once and for all. He noted that there are over 400 Arabic channels and asked why money is being wasted on an Israeli Arab television channel.

MK Zeev (Shas) said that there is no control and that each broadcaster makes his political opinion known. He expressed support for the bill and the reform. He stressed that television needs an overall reform to protect our children from it. He added that areas that do not have television reception should not have to pay the television tax.

Communications Minister Kahlon confessed he had no authority over public broadcasting. He added that Netanyahu was not the first prime minister to be the minister in charge of public broadcasting. He added that without this bill passing public broadcast will be out of money and will cease to exist. Kahlon revealed that he watches channel 1 more than cable or satellite and thanked the 10 speakers for their valid and invalid concerns.

The bill passed its first reading 55-31. The bill was supposed to be sent to the Finance Committee, but MK Orlev (J.H.) contested it asking to send the bill to the Education Committee, which he chairs. This forced Speaker Rivlin to send the bill to the House Committee to decide which committee will discuss the bill further.

The MKs spent three hours discussing these two bills alone.

Bi-Annual Budget 2011-2012 and Arrangements Bill

Finance Minister Steinitz presented the budget to the Knesset for its first reading. 25 of the 46 opposition MKs participated in a filibuster opposing the budget that lasted hours. 16 of Kadima’s 28 MKs participated in the filibuster and they were: MK Bar-On, MK Plesner, MK Tirosh, MK Solodkin, MK Dicter, MK Molla, MK Shamalov Berkovich, MK Tiviaev, MK Hermesh, MK Zuaretz, MK Adatto, MK Whbee, MK Bielski, MK Israel Hasson, MK Yoel Hasson, and MK Sheetrit.

There are currently 18 opposition MKs not from Kadima, and nine of them participated in the filibuster.  They were:  MK Tibi (R.T.), MK Eldad (N.U.), MK Swaid (Hadash), MK Zahalka (Balad), MK Ganaim (R.T.), MK Ariel (N.U.), MK Ghilon (Meretz), MK Oron (Meretz), and MK Naffaa (Balad).

Eight coalition MKs gave short speeches during the filibuster, naming a few things they opposed in the budget but supporting the budget overall. The MKs who spoke were: MK Gafni (U.T.J.), MK Kirshenbaum (Y.B.), MK Cohen (Shas), MK Orbach (J.H.), MK Ben Simon (Labor), MK Zeev (Shas) and MK Majadele (Labor).

Following the filibuster Finance Minister Steinitz responded to a few of the coalition members’ concerns on the budget and called for a vote.

The Knesset passed the budget 62-34 with 24 MKs not present for the vote. The Arrangements Bills attached to the budget passed 61-34.

The coalition had 12 MKs missing from the budget vote for various reasons. The missing MKs were Ministers Sa’ar, Eitan, Livnat and Peled (Likud), Ben-Eliezer and Braverman (Labor), Deputy Ministers Gamliel (Likud) and Noked (Labor), MKs Yacimovich, Peretz, Cabel (Labor) and MK Orlev (J.H.). Most of the six missing Labor MKs indicated before the vote that they were missing the vote in protest of Netanayhu giving in to the ultra-orthodox.

The opposition was missing 12 MKs from the budget vote for various reasons. The missing MKs were Kadima MKs Mofaz, Edery, Boim, Shai and Ezra, N.U. MKs Ben Ari and Katz, Hadash MKs Barakeh and Khenin, R.T. MKs Tibi and Sarsur and Balad MK Naffaa.

You heard it here first. There will be a filibuster on the first reading of the budgets Arrangements Bill. Kadima is leading its third filibuster of the 18th Knesset and all the opposition parties (Meretz, National Union, Balad, Chadash and Ra’am-Ta’al) are on board once again. Most of the 46 opposition MKs plan on speaking through the night, but the Arrangements Bill, known as “Chok HaHesderim” in Hebrew, will likely pass when the filibuster is over.

This exclusive KnessetJeremy report has not been reported yet on Jpost, Ynet and other website news sites.

The Knesset had a three hour session in the morning discussing eight bills and returned in the afternoon for a special session marking 15 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin that lasted less than an hour. Of the eight bills discussed, three passed their preliminary readings, four were turned into motions in order not to be defeated, and one was defeated after its sponsoring MK refused to turn it into a motion. The three bills advanced included a bill that would allow the demolition of an illegal building at the expense of the owner, a bill that would force drivers to install side mirrors in cars that are used for transporting students, and a bill that would terminate the official position of Future Generations Knesset Commissioner.


Non-Bills Summary

Urgent queries were answered by Deputy Defense Minister Vilnai (Labor), Agriculture Minister Simhon (Labor), Transportation Minister Katz (Likud), Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) and Interior Minister Yishai (Shas).

Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor) gave speeches marking 15 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.

Bills Summary:

Motion/Amendment to the Criminal Procedure Bill

MK Zeev (Shas) explained that his amendment would force the police to send a letter of apology in cases of false arrest and inform the wronged citizen if they are eligible for compensation. Zeev said that citizens being humiliated and arrested then released after the investigation shows they were innocent is a sad event. Many times the arrest and investigation, even if the person is never charged, cause the innocent citizen to lose his house and job. Zeev criticized the police for acting against the bill and said the least they could do was send a letter of apology to wronged citizens. Zeev expressed his belief that letters of apology would reduce the number of court cases against the police and save the government millions of shekels.

Speaker Rivlin told a personal story of the trauma he went through while being investigated years ago, yet he applauded the police for doing their work and expressed his opposition to the bill.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government opposition to the bill. He explained that the police are already directed by law to send a letter informing the person that they were found innocent. Neeman rejected the idea of forcing the police to apologize and said that it is up to the police to decide if they wanted to say sorry or not when sending the letter of acquittal. The minister proposed that the bill be turned into a motion to allow Zeev to express his opinions in a committee instead. Neeman said that if brought to a vote as a bill the government would oppose it.

MK Zeev gave a strong speech against Neeman’s position but reluctantly agreed to turn the bill into a motion.

The motion was passed 50-3 and sent to the House Committee to determine in which committee the matter should be discussed. MK Zeev did not vote on the motion, expressing his frustration that the government was burying his bill.

Amendment to the Planning and Construction Bill

MK Kirshenbaum (Y.B.) explained her amendment would allow the demolition of an illegal building at the expense of the owner. She expressed frustration that the local city councils do not have the money to demolish illegal homes and therefore leave them standing. It is her hope that if the owners can be billed for the demolition the local city councils will not fear and will start demolishing illegal homes. Kirshenbaum informed the MKs that she had government support.

MK Oron (Meretz) objected to the bill and asked why not a single minister wished to speak from the podium and explain why the government is supporting the bill. Oron said that the bill discriminates against Bedouins and Arabs.

MK Kirshenbaum noted that in 2004 there were 30,000 illegal buildings in Israel. She recalled that in 2003 there were 2,900 court orders to demolish illegal homes in Jerusalem and only 71 buildings have been demolished to date. She explained that the bill will only take effect in Israel’s pre-1967 borders and therefore it is not an anti-Arab bill. The Knesset went into complete pandemonium as the Arab and Meretz MKs all screamed at Kirshenbaum. Speaker Rivlin regained control shortly after.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 42-21 and was sent to the House Committee to assign the appropriate committee in which the bill should be discussed further.

Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance Bill

MK Tirosh (Kadima) explained that her amendment would require drivers to install side mirrors in cars that are used for transporting students. She also discussed her frustration over other traffic laws on new drivers and hit-and-runs that she had proposed that did not receive government support.

Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) expressed government support for this bill. He added that he supports MK Tirosh in her quest to pass many traffic safety measures and wishes her luck in dealing with the justice ministry.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 50-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Knesset Bill

House Committee Chairman MK Levin (Likud) explained his amendment would terminate the position of Future Generations Knesset Commissioner that was instituted by former MK Tommy Lapid (Shinui) in the 1990’s and hasn’t been enforced for years. He added that the position never had a clear definition of its authority and responsibilities and it is time the Knesset eliminates it.

Justice Minister Neeman explained that the government does not have an opinion on the bill since it is an internal Knesset bill.

MK Horowitz (Meretz) reminded the MKs that there was freedom of vote for both coalition and opposition members. He named hundreds of organizations that were against eliminating the position. He quoted Speaker Rivlin from 2001 calling the Future Generations Knesset Commissioner the most important position in the Knesset. He quoted former Minister and current MK Ezra (Kadima) as another person stressing the importance. Horowitz rejected the idea that Future Generations Knesset Commissioner could stall laws and called it an advisory position that only costs the Knesset two million NIS per year. He added that a person who works in the Knesset and does not need to worry about primaries or lobbyists has a good position.

Speaker Rivlin said that the one former Knesset Commissioner appointed, who happened to be a judge, found it unjust that as an appointed official he had power over elected officials and resigned.

MK Gafni (U.T.J.) said that it is impossible to expect a commissioner who is not an elected official to be in charge of the only 120 people that the public does elect. He called on the Knesset to repeal the law and eliminate the position.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 62-6 and was sent to the House Committee.

The Talkback Website Liability Bill/Motion

MK Ganaim (Ra’am-Ta’al) explained that this original bill would consider anything that is written in a talkback on a website admissible in a court of law. The current law allows a person to write whatever they want about anything or anybody, including disclosing private details harmful to other people. Ganaim said that when technology presents a new danger, it is the government’s job to regulate it. He explained that it was high school students from a Civics class in Baka El’Garbeiah who suggested this bill to him.

Communications Minister Kahlon (Likud) expressed the government position that three months is needed to study the issue before determining a position. Kahlon suggested waiting the three months and in the meantime turning the law into a motion to start the discussion in the committee sooner.

MK Ganaim agreed to turn the bill into a motion after the minister agreed to invite the high school students to the committee discussion on the issue.

The motion passed 38-1 and was sent to the House Committee to assign it to the appropriate committee.

Amendment to the Prevent Smoking in Public Places and Exposure to Smoking Bill

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) explained his amendment would entice hospitals to enforce the law by allowing them to keep the money they collect in fines. He added that the current situation of the fines going to government spending elsewhere is a big reason why hospitals do not currently enforce the law. He stated that cigarettes kill and second-hand smoke kills too.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) expressed government opposition to the bill. He explained that this bill is just like telling meter maids that they can pocket a third of the fines they assess. Litzman said that smoking is bad, but there are better way to prevent smoking than passing this bill.

MK Hasson slammed the government for opposing a bill that is trying to prevent smoking.

The bill was defeated 25-46.

Two Amendments to the Patients Rights Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained her amendment would require the informed consent document in hospitals to be in different languages, such as Russian, Arabic, English and Amharit. She explained that many patients are forced to sign papers they do not understand and that it is unacceptable.

MK Naffaa (Balad) explained that his similar amendment would change the consent documents so that each patient can understand them. He expressed disappointment that the government was opposed to a bill that could mean life or death.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) explained that the current law demands that the hospital explain the consent forms orally and therefore there is no reason to support this law. Litzman stressed that a full oral explanation is more important than a standard written consent form. Litzman added that he previously passed a law that demanded that hospitals give patients a copy of the consent form they signed. He suggested that both laws be turned into motions and discussed in the Health Committee.

MK Solodkin and MK Naffaa agreed to turn their bills into motions and Deputy Speaker Whbee (Kadima) announced that the motions would be merged and voted on as one.

The motions were passed by a single vote of 39-0 and sent to the Health Committee.

Tuesday’s session was just under five hours, and not a single bill was discussed. So what were our 120 elected MKs doing? Well, most of them didn’t show up today at all. Just another Tuesday at the Knesset… So, what did we have today? International Combat Poverty Day, which produced a lot of speeches. All of the motions discussed were predictable topics taken from the headlines of Israel’s top newspapers. The only motion the government did not humor with a committee assignment was the one dealing with Ehud Barak’s current legal troubles.

Non-Bill Summary

  • 22 MKs gave one-minute speeches, mostly on International Combat Poverty Day.
  • Speaker Rivlin as well as Labor and Welfare Minister Hertzog (Labor) gave speeches marking International Combat Poverty Day.
  • Ten motions based on the hot topics of the week were discussed at length by the Knesset, and seven of these motions were sent to their respective committees for further discussion. Each one of the passing votes were unanimous:  8-0, 12-0, 11-0, 10-0, 11-0, 5-0 and 5-0. Two motions were not brought up for any vote and were withdrawn after the government gave answers acceptable to those who submitted the motions. MK Eldad’s (N.U.) motion discussing ‘The Attorney General’s decision to close the case of the foreign worker who worked illegally in the defense minister’s home’ was the lone motion that was defeated by a 5-5 vote.

Monday’s session lasted over five hours, and the five bills that were discussed all passed. The day started with two no-confidence votes which were easily defeated, but the debate took over two hours. There were many non-legislative affairs today including the government transferring certain responsibilities from the tourism minister to the religious affairs minister. Of the five bills discussed, two were passed in their third reading, including another political appointment friendly bill and a bill that discards some current Israeli laws in order to comply with the International Legal Assistance Bill. The three bills that were passed in their first reading sparked Knesset controversy.  These bills included one that would require organizations to disclose which foreign governments are financing them, a bill that would allow the government to come after a citizen for not paying small fines, and a bill that would allow just about all small claims cases to be heard by a court registrar instead of a judge.

Non-Bills Summary:

  • Minister Erdan (Likud) revealed that even though he makes a minister’s salary he rents the house he lives in. He questioned Kadima’s position that every family should own their own house. Kadima’s no-confidence motion, titled “Netanyahu government failure to meet the housing plight of Israeli citizens, especially of young couples,” was defeated 28-57 with 35 MKs not present. Ra’am-Ta’al, Chadash and Balad’s motion, titled “Netanyahu’s government – an obstacle to peace,” was defeated 21-61 with 38 MKs not present.
  • MK Michaeli (Shas) explained that the Justice Committee found a freak mistake of one word that changed an amendment on the Courts Bill law by accident. The mistake was fixed with a 19-0 vote.
  • Interior and Environment Chairman MK Azoulay (Shas) explained that dividing the Economic Efficiency Bill into separate legislative amendments was needed to implement the economic program passed for 2009 and 2010. The division of the bill was approved 14-0.
  • Rivlin gave an address marking 66 years since the British government’s deportation of 450 Etzel and Lechi members to Kenya and Eritrea. Former Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir and other Israeli leaders were deported.
  • Minister Eitan asked for a continuity clause on an amendment on the Producing and Marketing Bill. The vote will be held in two weeks.
  • Interior and Environment Chairman MK Azoulay (Shas) asked for a continuity clause on an amendment that would grant mayors bodyguards. The vote will be held in two weeks.
  • Two motions were discussed at the end of the day. A motion on international pensioner’s day was discussed at length but was not brought up to a vote. The other motion was a debate on the extent of rights given to holocaust survivors. The motion was sent to the Finance Committee for further discussion following a 5-0 vote.

Bill Summary:

Amendment on the State Service Bill

MK Michaeli (Shas) explained that the amendment would allow a minister in certain cases to appoint a temporary replacement for a three month time period. In other cases they would be allowed to appoint a temporary replacement for a six month period.

The bill passed its second reading 43-2.

The bill passed its third reading 51-2.

Amendment on the International Legal Assistance Bill

MK Michaeli (Shas) explained that the amendment would discard certain Israeli laws. This would help the Israeli law adapt and meet the standards of the International Legal Assistance Bill of other countries.

The bill passed its second reading 38-0.

The bill passed its third reading 37-0.

Government announcement on the transfer of powers from minister to minister

Religious Affairs Minister Margi (Shas) explained that the government was transferring the authority of religious landmarks and cemeteries from the Tourism Ministry to the Religious Affairs Ministry.

MK Zahalka (Balad) blasted the government’s decision, but did not give a reason why.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) took the opportunity to criticize Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was in attendance. He said that Netanyahu will be giving away all of the religious landmarks in Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians, so there is no reason to vote on the issue. MK Ben Ari also slammed MK Eldad who last week called Jordan the Palestinian state. Ben Ari told Eldad that Jordan is just the name of a river and that the country is on the land of the biblical tribes of Reuven, Gad and Menashe. Ben Ari said that he would prefer Tzipi Livni as Prime Minister, because that would force the Likud to return to the right.

MK Zeev (Shas) called this decision a waste of time. Zeev asked that more responsibilities be transferred to the religious affairs ministry, especially from the justice ministry.

MK Eldad (N.U.) talked about the difficulties facing whoever takes responsibility for the Mount of Olives. He expressed hope that this transfer of authority will assist Minister Margi in making a real difference for the Mount of Olives.

The announcement was passed 34-10.

Note: Even though this wasn’t a piece of legislation I chose to cover this issue due to the high number of speakers.

Disclosure Requirements About Who Is Supported By A Foreign Entity Bill

MK Elkin (Likud) explained that his original bill would require companies and organizations to disclose all the support and money they receive from all foreign entities, not just foreign governments. Elkin named Bureaucracy Minister Eitan as the man behind the inception of the bill. Elkin added that the bill had been watered down in the committee following its preliminary reading and now had little opposition. He added that people who find transparency a threat are people who have something to hide. Elkin said he hoped to bring a stronger bill in the future that would include private foreign investors as well. He reminded Kadima that they voted for the bill in its preliminary reading.

MK Rotem (Y.B.) explained that this bill will not limit any fundraising or shut any mouths. It is a simple bill that requires transparency of countries that fund Israeli companies and organizations.

MK Levin (Likud) called the current version of the bill a moderate watered down bill. Levin stated that most countries do not allow other countries to fund anti-government institutions. He added that the current situation without this bill is that the public has no idea which countries are intervening in Israeli affairs.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) mentioned that these countries already own property in Israel and now they own companies too. He called on the Knesset to pass this law and expose which countries are responsible.

MK Zahalka (Balad) mocked MK Elkin and called him Mr. Transparency and rolled his eyes. He said that it is obvious that if this law is passed, many countries will back down and stop funding left-wing non-profit organizations.

MK Khenin (Chadash) said that transparency is important, but this bill will only expose transparency of left-wing organizations and will not expose any transparency of right-wing organizations. Therefore, Khenin informed the Knesset, he would oppose the law.

MK Oron (Meretz) objected to the idea that countries funding and influencing Israeli opinion was a bad thing. He called for transparency on which international Jews are buying Arab homes in eastern Jerusalem.

MK Gilon (Meretz) said this bill has nothing to do with transparency and everything to do with politics. Gilon said that the countries that contribute to left-wing organizations are known. He praised Holland and Belgium who are at the top of that list. He went on to name dozens of right-wing organizations and asked if they would also be investigated by the new fundraiser police.

MK Zeev (Shas) asked the last four speakers what they were afraid of. He declared foreign countries influencing Israeli opinion and Iran’s nuclear faculties equal threats. He called the New Israel Fund – the New Ishmael Fund.

MK Plesner (Kadima) said he supported transparency but this bill was discrimination. He called for investigating the evangelical Christians instead. He attacked Labor for supporting the bill and staying in the coalition.

MK Swaid (Hadash) called the bill anti-democratic and political masking itself as transparency. He equated this bill to an American Great Depression-era paranoia bill, seeking out the communists.

MK Zuaretz (Kadima) said that the selective transparency comes from an attitude of whoever is not with me – is against me. She said that Israel has few friends left and this bill will make it very hard for them to remain Israel’s friend. She said that the NIF helps Israel and that the Right should accept that. Pandemonium in the plenum broke out, and Deputy Speaker Miller (Y.B.) called Minister Eitan to order and regained order.

Labor and Welfare Minister Herzog (Labor) said that the first draft of the bill was a crazy anti-democratic bill that Kadima supported. He asked why Kadima is against the current moderate bill, which he watered down considerably. He called the objecting Kadima MKs crazy and told them to read the fine print of the bill before they oppose it.

The bill passed its first reading 23-12 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment on the Execution Bill

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan (Likud) explained that the amendment would allow the government to execute criminal proceedings against people who owe less than 1,000 NIS to the government. It would also explain which government body will be responsible for this issue and how the manager of the department will be appointed.

MK Ben Ari criticized the police for attacking Jews living in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shiloach when they were defending themselves against Arabs who were setting fire to their streets. He warned that if the police do not respond that the French Hill neighborhood will be next and after that it will be Romema.

MK Rotem said that there are many legal problems with this bill and that after many changes the bill would be acceptable.

MK Levin said that this bill will bring transparency to how government officials are appointed. He also dismissed the idea that we need to find jobs for retired judges by putting them at the head of various government departments.

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

Amendment on the Court Houses Bill

Minister Eitan explained the amendment would transfer the court’s powers to a registrar for most civil monetary cases that are less than 50,000 NIS. Last year there were 78,421 such cases. He explained that this bill would improve the efficiency of all parties involved and reduce the judges’ caseloads.

MK Rotem agreed that the courts are overworked and run down. He disagreed that taking cases away from judges was the correct solution. He asked how people who were not appointed judges could function as judges. Rotem asked if the next bill would allow people who did not pass the bar to practice law. Rotem demanded that the assistant of Justice Minister Neeman, who was in the room at the time, listen to this speech. He warned this bill would effectively kill small claims court.

MK Zeev said that the legal process is so long and involves so much paperwork that it doesn’t matter if there is a judge there anyway. He said that if a registrar is acting as a judge, we must then give him a registrar and pay him like a judge too. Zeev asked maybe we should just call registrars judges.

The bill passed its first reading 17-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Wednesday, the third day of the 2010 winter session and the 163rd session of the 18th Knesset overall, was less than seven hours. Eight bills were discussed, including a basic law. Two of the bills were defeated, two of them postponed and one was turned into a motion instead. Three bills did pass their preliminary readings. The bills that advanced will increase the sentence of students who attack teachers, force the government to take down cell phone antennae from hospitals and schools and, lastly, restrict government monopoly companies from creating new fees. Among the defeated bills were a bill that would limit top executives’ salaries and a bill that would grant students free national insurance.


Non-Bill Summary:

  • Urgent queries were answered by Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas), Labor and Welfare Minister Herzog (Labor) and Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.).
  • Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch answered nine other queries later in the session.
  • Speaker Rivlin addressed the visiting President of Finland.
  • Eight motions were discussed over the course of the day, but four didn’t come up for a vote. The few MKs who were around at the end of the afternoon passed the other four by the votes of 7-3, 14-0, 7-3 and 11-1 with one abstaining.
  • House Chairman Levin (Likud) revealed the House Committee’s decisions on which committees will discuss the current preliminary bills in limbo.  Levin announced that MK Oron (Meretz) will replace MK Hermesh (Kadima) in the Finance Committee. Levin also announced that MK Pinyan (Likud) would replace MK Yacimovich (Labor) in a joint Finance-Justice Sub-Committee.


Today’s Bill Summary:

Amendment to the Knesset Bill

MK Levin (Likud) explained that his amendment would cancel the position of the Knesset Commissioner for future generations. MK Levin said he felt this appointed position hurt the Knesset immediately after elections and that the position has no purpose throughout the rest of the term.

MK Levin agreed to delay the vote on the bill for another week, in order to ensure government support.

Amendment to the Consumer Protection Bill

MK Shama (Likud) explained his amendment would prohibit government companies from collecting payments in addition to the rate prescribed by the laws of payment. MK Shama gave an example of government monopoly companies such as Bezeq charging a few extra shekels for customers that use the post office bank or don’t pay via the internet.

The government had no minister or deputy minister in the room to grant approval to the bill, but Speaker Rivlin chose to vote on the bill anyway. It is illegal for the government not to have a representative when the plenum is in session, and Rivlin chose to go ahead anyway. Perhaps the bill did not actually have government approval.

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

Amendment to the Penal Code Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained that his amendment would sentence students who attack their teachers with between three to five years in prison. MK Orlev explained that a recent poll cited that 56% of the 120,000 Israeli teachers were attacked in the past school year. The Interior Ministry has only pursued 45 cases in the last year. MK Orlev asked that the Knesset send a message to the violent students and tell them that Israel stands behind her teachers.

Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) expressed government support for the bill.

MK Zahalka (Balad) attacked Orlev and Sa’ar. Zahalka said that increasing punishments has never changed anything and that Sa’ar must work on changing his ministry’s policy. He also accused Orlev of trying to pull a populist quick-fix bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 61-1 and was sent to the House Committee to decide which committee will prepare the bill for a first reading. Speaker Rivlin had wanted to send the bill to the Justice Committee, and Orlev preferred to send it to the Education Committee, of which he is the chairman.

Amendment to the Non-Ionizing Radiation Bill

MK Shamalov Berkovich (Kadima) explained that her amendment, which has many co-sponsors, would prohibit the placing of a transmission cellular communication system on top of any government educational or health facility. She stated that in today’s age the cell phone has become not only a telephone, but also an alarm clock, schedule book, GPS, address book, camera, email, music player, news ticker, traffic report and countless notes and lists. Therefore the cell phone companies need more antennae, and the government has decided to place them on hospitals and schools in order to receive money. The bill would demand that all of these antennae be removed immediately.

Public Relations and Diaspora Affairs Minister Edelstein (Likud) expressed government support for the bill.

MK Eldad (N.U.) objected to the law. He argued that there is no concrete evidence that links antennae to cancer. Eldad added that, as a doctor and during his time as the former health commander of the army, he never witnessed any cancer as a result of cell phone antennae. He also argued that the government would lose money and that people would lose reception in public places.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 53-1 and was sent to the Interior and Health Committee.

Motion/Amendment on the National Insurance Bill

MK Barakeh (Chadash) explained that his amendment would exempt all college students from paying national insurance contributions (Bituach Leumi). He added that this bill would help Israel move towards a socialist democracy that encourages higher education. He spent the rest of his allotted time talking about another one of his bills, one which would have the tax payers pick up the tab for school children who can’t go on class trips because their parents can’t afford it.

Labor and Welfare Minister Herzog (Labor) expressed government opposition to the bill. He pointed out that MK Barakeh’s bill would give students five free years of Bituach Leumi, regardless of how much money they earn during that time. The bill also excludes masters’ students, so it would discourage them from staying in school. The minister pointed out that Bituach Leumi is 18 NIS per month for the 50,000 first degree students, and there is no real reason to abolish it. The 10,000 Israeli foreign exchange students residing abroad pay 54 NIS per month for their Bituach Leumi. He added that this would give university students an unfair advantage over soldiers and yeshiva students who do not receive these benefits for free.

MK Barakeh agreed to turn the bill into a motion when he realized his bill wouldn’t pass.

The motion passed 58-1 and was sent to the Education Committee for further discussion.

Amendments to the Sick Pay Bill

MK Oron (Meretz) explained his two amendments would allow a person to take a day off from work in order to take a disabled person to their medical examination. He explained that the bill would help children be with their parents in the last months of terminal diseases.

Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Noked (Labor) expressed government opposition to the bill arguing that top industry leaders are afraid through this bill employees will use up all of their sick days.

The amendments were defeated by a single vote of 19-41

Amendment on Companies Bill

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) explained that his amendment would restrict the salaries of executives in government companies and public companies to 100 times the salary of the lowest paid worker. He attacked the fact that currently many of these executives make millions of shekels monthly. He estimated that his bill would put a cap of about 80,000 shekels per month for the top executives. MK Sheetrit attacked executives who are paying their employees 3,500 shekels per month and take home two million. He quoted a Harvard study that found that top executives in Israel are paid second highest in the world, next to the United States.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government opposition the bill. He attacked it for singling out government and public companies. Neeman also challenged the idea that if the executives made less money that they would distribute it to their employees. He blasted the idea that there is a single solution to closing the gaps within Israeli society and slammed the bill, which has not passed in any democratic country around the globe. He added there is a ministerial committee that is discussing how to close the gaps in the Israeli economy, and therefore this bill is irrelevant.

MK Sheetrit got back up to argue his point and got into a brief exchange with Prime Minister Netanyahu and a few other ministers who were present. He called for a roll-call voting.

The bill was defeated 26-45.

Basic Bill – Character of the State

MK Edery (Kadima) explained that his Basic Bill, that would be added to the Israeli constitution when created, would define the declaration of independence as the character and personality of the State of Israel.

MK Edery agreed to postpone voting on the bill in order to take the time to garner government support.


Tuesday’s hour and a half session commemorated Rehavam Ze’evi Day. Virtually the entire session was spent eulogizing Ze’evi, who was assassinated nine years ago. MK Eldad (NU) had the headline of the day with his declaration that Jordan is the Palestinian state. The first bill of the winter session was discussed and passed its third reading.

One Minute Speeches

Most of the 23 MKs spoke about assassinated Minister, MK and leader of the Moledet party, Rehavam Ze’evi.

Special session in memory of assassinated Tourism Minister Ze’evi

Speaker of the House Rivlin (Likud), Prime-Minister Netanyahu (Likud), Opposition Leader Livni (Kadima) and MK Eldad (N.U.) all gave warm speeches eulogizing Ze’evi. They all shared heartfelt fond personal memories and condemned the assassination by Palestinian terrorists in an eastern Jerusalem hotel nine years ago. The plenum was filled with special guests, former ministers, MKs, public figures, soldiers and family members. The most amazing part of the three speeches was that only small parts of the emotional speeches were read from the speakers’ notes. Livni stressed several times that she disagreed with Ze’evi politically. MK Eldad stole the headline of the day when he said there was no need for a Palestinian state, since there already was one and it is called – Jordan.

Shazar Center for the history of the Jewish people Bill

Education, Culture and Sports Committee Chairman Orlev (Jewish Home) explained that the bill would create an investigation and study center in the name of the third president of Israel, Zalman Shazar. He explained that this bill would create many government jobs. Deputy Speaker Walhaba (Kadima) congratulated MK Orlev on passing another bill that would give his connected people jobs. Chairman Orlev went on to thank the dozens of people who helped make the bill possible and assist in getting it passed quickly.

Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) thanked former MK Menachem Ben-Sasson for coming up with the idea for the bill and to MK Orlev for navigating the bill in a way which helped it get passed.

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

Knesset Jeremy On The Radio

Jeremy Man Saltan of Knesset Jeremy was interviewed by Yishai Fleisher on Israel National Radio earlier today. Below is the link and Jeremy’s interview is roughly from 27:45 till 47:10.

If the link does not work, download the file and play it.

Jeremy Man Saltan, a Knesset insider, gives English-speakers a glimpse
into the first day back to parliament after a long summer break.