Wednesday’s session lasted about eight hours. Seven bills were discussed. Three bills were advanced, one was defeated and three were turned into motions in order to avoid defeat. Kadima MK Hanegbi’s suspension from the Knesset caused the changing of seats among the Kadima MKs. This resulted with three Kadima MKs- Edery, Bar-On and Sheetrit- voting from the wrong places at different points in the session.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced the changes in a few committees. MK Orlev (J.H.) will replace MK Orbach (J.H.) in the Funds Committee, and MK Orbach will replace MK Orlev in the House Committee. MK Orbach will replace MK Orlev in the State Comptroller Committee. MK Simantov (Y.B.) will replace MK Miller (Y.B.) in the Funds Committee.
  • House Committee Chairman Levin announced the splitting of the Arrangements Bill and explained which committee would discuss which part to prepare it for its second reading. The Knesset approved the split 66-2.
  • Justice Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) asked the Knesset to split a bill his committee was discussing into two. The Knesset approved the split 57-0.
  • Communications Minister Kahlon (Likud), Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas), Justice Minister Neeman and Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) answered urgent queries.
  • The motion on a unilateral Palestinian state from earlier in the week was continued. The Knesset defeated the proposals to accept a Palestinian state (in whatever form) by MKs Zahalka (Balad), Ghilon (Meretz), Khenin (Hadash), Sarsur (R.T.) and Plesner (Kadima).  They were defeated by the following votes: 7-55-1, 20-42, 10-56, 7-52-2 and 15-46. MK Ben Ari’s idea of annexing Judea and Samaria to Israel was defeated 3-62. MK Orlev’s proposal to leave the Palestinian state issue to negations between the proper parties was passed 43-21.
  • Seven other motions were discussed on hot topics of the day. Six were passed and sent to different committees by the votes of: 15-0, 8-0, 11-1, 7-0, 5-0 and 7-0. One motion was not brought up for a vote.
  • Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud), Justice Minister Neeman and Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) answered several queries at the end of the session.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Municipal and Government Taxes Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained that his amendment would exempt field schools and youth hostels from city taxes.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 33-0 and was sent to the Funds Committee. The vote was 34-0, but Speaker Rivlin cancelled one of the votes. The cancelled vote was from MK Edery (Kadima) who had voted as MK Bielski (Kadima) instead of voting from his own seat.

Amendment to the Expansion of Ethiopian Representation in the Civil Service Bill

MK Pinyan (Likud) explained that his amendment would grant affirmative action to Ethiopians in the public sector.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen expressed government support for the bill.

MK Gafni (U.T.J.) objected to the bill. He explained that his party had supported affirmative action for women, immigrants, minorities and disabled people. He explained that because the government is against affirmative action for the ultra-orthodox, he is against affirmative action for Ethiopians. He called on the government to encourage and promote processes that would help the ultra-orthodox enter the work force.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 55-0 and was sent to the Immigrant and Absorption Committee. It was 56-0, but Speaker Rivlin cancelled one of the votes. The cancelled vote was from MK Bar-On (Kadima) who had voted as MK Boim (Kadima) instead of voting from his own seat.

Amendment to the Pharmacists Ordinance Bill

MK Tiviaev (Kadima) explained that his amendment would add instructions in Russian to all pharmaceuticals sold in Israel. He thanked his Russian-speaking friends in Likud and Yisrael Beitenu.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 60-0 and was sent to the Health Committee.

Motion/Amendment to the Population Registry Bill

MK El-Sana (R.T.) explained that his amendment would help Bedouins by sending their mail to their private address instead of sending the mail to the Bedouin tribes’ main addresses.

Environmental Minister Erdan (Likud) explained that the Bedouin leaders prefer to not have a permanent address and prefer to distribute their tribe’s mail themselves. Erdan suggested that the bill be turned into a motion so they can discuss the matter in the committee.

MK El-Sana agreed.

The motion was passed 31-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Motion/Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance Bill

MK Agbaria (Hadash) explained that his amendment would no longer force medical facilities and hospitals from reporting individuals’ diseases to the government in all cases and would specify which cases need to be reported. He said that the current situation creates tension in the doctor-patient relationship.

Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) said that he personally agrees with MK Agbaria, but the government opposes the bill. He asked Agbaria to change the bill into a motion.

MK Agbaria agreed.

The motion was passed 30-0 and was sent to the Health Committee.

Motion/Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance Bill

MK Zahalka (Balad) explained that his amendment would give traffic law tax exemptions to the disabled and citizens older than 65. He stated that car license and registration fees are too high for these populations to pay.

Transportation Minister Katz explained that the government is against the bill because they have already lowered the taxes of these populations in these areas. He asked MK Zahalka to change the bill into a motion.

MK Zahalka agreed.

The motion was passed 30-0 and was sent to the Health Committee. It was 31-0, but Speaker Rivlin cancelled one of the votes. The cancelled vote was from MK Sheetrit who had voted as another Kadima MK instead of voting from his own seat.

Amendment to the Jewish Religious Services Bill

MK Molla (Kadima) explained that his amendment would add a Kes member of the Ethiopian faith to every religious council in the country. He blasted the entire religious establishment and said that all the other religious Jews have it wrong and that the Kes have it right. He called everyone who opposed this law a racist and said that the Ethiopian leaders are the spiritual leaders of the Jewish people.

Minister Nahari (Shas) slammed MK Molla and his bill. He stated that Shas and the coalition support Ethiopian rights and that their record speaks for itself. He noted MK Pinyan’s Ethiopian affirmative action bill that was co-sponsored by many coalition members and revealed that MK Molla was not on the bill. Nahari asked if they should also add American rabbis to the religious council and turn it into an international mix. He asked if it would be better to divide the religious council into different sectors and not try to unify the religious public. Nahari called the bill a sham. He informed Molla that if Kes members were members of the religious council they would be forced to forfeit their state salaries by law. Nahari asked the Knesset to defeat the bill.

MK Molla responded that Kes members barely make any money anyway and that Shas has not done enough for the Ethiopian public in the last decade.

The bill was defeated 25-47.

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