Wednesday’s session lasted about six hours. Four bills were discussed. One passed its preliminary reading, and three were defeated. The highlighted bill of the day that would put conditions for female army exemption on grounds of religious recognition was defeated. What passed was a bill that would force real estate brokers to disclose the transaction brokerage fees in the listing prices of both rentals and sales.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • Deputy Defense Minister Vilnai (Labor), Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.), Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas), Environment Minister Erdan (Likud) and Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) all answered urgent queries at the start of the session.
  • Nine motions on the hot topics of the day were discussed. Eight of the motions were sent to various Knesset committees by the votes of: 19-0, 10-0, 8-0, 11-0, 10-0, 8-0, 4-0 and 5-0. One of the motions was not voted on and therefore dropped.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Real Estate Brokers Bill

MK Akunis (Likud) explained his amendment would force real estate brokers to disclose the transaction brokerage fees in the listing prices of both rentals and sales of apartments and houses.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 29-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.

Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill

MK Barakeh (Hadash) explained his amendment would present a tax exemption for corporations which employ the handicapped. He expressed that it is wiser to give tax free jobs to the handicapped, as opposed to giving them free government funds for not working. He cited a study that found that out of all western countries only South Korea gives fewer rights than Israel to the handicapped. He called this unacceptable.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill.  He stated that the handicapped in Israel have a higher employment rate than the rest of the population and therefore the government did not see a reason for the bill.

MK Barakeh expressed his disappointment with the government’s decision.

The bill was defeated 16-51.

Amendment to the Police Ordinance Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained that her amendment would require higher education as a condition for the recruitment of detectives to the police. She warned that Israel can’t call itself a modern country if they don’t expect their detectives to have a college degree.

Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) expressed government opposition to the bill. He explained that most of the criteria that make a good detective come from previous experience and not from what they may have learned in the classroom. He noted that most of the detectives do have degrees anyway, so this is a pointless bill aimed at the talented few who do not have a college education, some of whom are the best detectives in the country.

The bill was defeated 12-45 with one MK abstaining.

Amendment to the Security Service Bill

MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima) explained that his amendment would put conditions for female army exemption on grounds of religious recognition. He exposed a quote by Minister Nahari in an ultra-orthodox paper where he said he planned on burying this bill. Minister Nahari heckled back. Hasson told Nahari and the ultra-orthodox that they should be ashamed of themselves. He said it was not fair that his daughters serve and Shas’ daughters do not.

Minister Erdan (Likud) agreed that something needs to be done with secular women pretending to be religious. He stated there is no reason to force religious women into the army. He noted that a government bill on the issue of women pretending to be religious to get out of the army has passed its first reading, and the committee will send it for second and third readings in about a month. He accused Hasson for presenting this bill because of political motivation and not good will. He lectured Hasson to stop attempting to embarrass the government on silly issues.

MK Hasson responded that this was a “real” bill, and it has nothing to do with politics. He explained that there are differences between his bill and the government bill. For instance the government bill would still force conservative and reform female Jews to serve in the army, and his bill would exempt them. He went on to attack the government in general and Shas in particular.

Minister Nahari (Shas) responded to attacks against him by attacking Kadima and MK Hasson.

Deputy Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) responded to attacks against him by asking MK Hasson why he hasn’t been at any of the committee meetings on the government bill. Litzman answered it was because Hasson doesn’t really care about changing anything, he only cares about speaking against the ultra-orthodox. He concluded that religious women will never serve in the army and there is nothing Hasson or anyone else will be able to do about it.

The bill was defeated 28-51 with one MK abstaining.

MK Hasson offered his apologies if he hurt Minister Nahari’s and Deputy Minister Litzman’s feelings. He stated that his problem was with their opinions not with them as people. He mentioned that if Minister Nahari was misquoted that he will take action against the papers that misquoted him. He added that he wants to create committees to deal with these important issues, such as helping the agriculture community.

Speaker Rivlin responded that there is a committee called the Foreign Workers Committee that helps the agriculture community. He stated that the chairman of the committee, MK Katzeleh (N.U.), was in the room, and Hasson could speak with him about it.

Deputy Speaker Vaknin (Shas) said that there is a committee for everything and there is no reason to create more committees. He noted that Katzeleh does a good job and that Hasson should speak with him.

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