The December 29th  session lasted over twelve and a half hours. The MKs started bright and early and passed the Arrangements Bill in its third reading 67-23 with 30 MKs not present before lunch. The budget passed its third reading 63-33 with 24 MKs not present around 9:30 PM.

Day three of the budget discussion lasted for about an hour and a half. Following were eleven hours of voting with only a short break in the middle. Two bills were corrected at the end of the budget voting marathon. The only coalition MK to vote against the budget was Labor MK Ben Simon.  Twelve coalition MKs and twelve opposition MKs were absent from the final vote. The opposition faction National Union split the party’s votes- two MKs voted for the budget, one voted against it and one chose not to participate.


Bills Summary

2011-2012 Budget Bill and 2011-2012 Arrangements Bill

Speaker Rivlin asked the opposition to agree to a break for lunch in the middle of the session.

MK Abesadze (Kadima) was praised by Speaker Rivlin for showing her restraint and not speaking from the plenum during her first month as an MK. Abesadze praised MK Gafni for splitting bills from the Arrangements Bill and said he was no sucker. She blasted the government for raising indirect taxes such as school uniforms, mortgages and city taxes. She attacked Netanyahu for reneging on some of his campaign promises in order to lower the deficit.

MK Eldad (N.U.) attacked the government for not budgeting for the 40% of children who don’t have gas masks. He wondered how parents will choose which children will receive a gas mask and which will die. He speculated what fighting will be in the streets in order to get a mask. He noted that a citizen can’t buy it privately or import the gas masks. He recalled when he was the head doctor of the army the importance that the government placed on defending their citizens. He attacked the Foreign and Defense Committee Chairman Mofaz, an opposition MK, for not fighting this issue.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) attacked the government for not raising the budget for immigration and absorption. He blasted the government for allowing illegal immigration and for not allocating funds for it. He warned that the illegals will receive the funds and the citizens will not. He said that on average 15 illegals live in one house, many times in abandoned apartments. He stated that entire neighborhoods are becoming African and they use the bathroom in public. He asked if those who fight an enemy are racist. He blasted the New Israel Fund for being anti-Zionistic. He warned that Israel is slowly being taken over by Africans.

MK Adatto (Kadima) attacked the budget for not allocating funds for extra hospital beds and finding new doctors. She said that the decision to move money from pharmaceuticals to children’s dentistry was a bad move. She blasted the decision to allow pharmacists to write prescriptions to patients for the first nine months and to check patients in a separate room in order to make a diagnosis.

MK Bar-On (Kadima) summarized the last three days of debating the budget by saying it was a bad budget. He slammed Netanyahu’s interview on Channel 10 and said it made him feel sorry for Netanyahu. He went on to slam Ministers Liberman and Yishai. He said that Netanyahu is weak, the government is going nowhere and nothing good will come of this year or this budget.

Finance Minister Steinitz (Likud) defended the biannual budget as the only way to protect Israel from the global economic crisis. He noted that many of the experts in the financial sector agree with him and the success of the previous biannual budget. He praised the 700 million NIS increase in the budget for working single mothers. He stated that minimum wage salaried employees will pay less and receive more. He noted the increase in the transportation budget’s train and new roads sectors. He lauded the incentives for high tech and start-up companies. He thanked Speaker Rivlin for shrinking the Arrangements Bill. He concluded that the budget is good for the citizens of Israel.

Funds Committee Chairman MK Gafni (U.T.J.) praised the small Arrangements Bill and the bills that were split off from it. He asked the Knesset to support the budget despite the compromises that were made.

The opposition’s objections on the Arrangements Bill were defeated 43-66, 43-67, 42-69, 42-71, 43-70, 40-63, 40-68, 40-68, 38-69, 38-68, 37-63, 39-66, 37-65, 33-64, 35-64, 35-61, 41-63, 38-60, 38-65, 39-66, 43-57, 38-61, 42-67, 30-59, 31-58, 38-65, 37-58, 44-62, 38-63, 38-59, 42-64, 37-67 and 30-58.

Communications Minister Kahlon’s objections were accepted 67-38, 69-41, 69-39 and 68-39.

The Finance Minister Steinitz’s objections were accepted 97-7 and 62-32.

The paragraphs of the Arrangements Bill were accepted in their second reading 68-44, 68-42, 69-39, 69-39, 66-38, 68-35, 67-34, 67-35, 57-28, 63-34, 65-37, 61-38, 60-37, 61-37, 64-39, 64-40, 64-37-1, 55-35, 85-10, 50-32, 62-38, 52-38, 58-33, 57-29, 64-31-1, 62-34, 55-35, 59-36, 65-38, 60-38, 60-37, 63-39, 53-24, 56-27, 57-34-1 and 54-20.

The Arrangements Bill passed its third reading 67-23.

Following the passing of the Arrangements Bill, the Knesset took a 49-minute break so the MKs could eat some lunch.

When they returned, Finance Minister Steinitz announced that the government will vote against all of the objections on the budget.

MK Bar-On apologized for hurting Deputy Finance Minister Cohen’s feelings earlier.

The objections on the budget were defeated 28-53, 28-54, 31-54, 36-56, 34-51, 35-55, 33-55, 32-55, 34-64, 33-61, 28-54, 31-54, 36-56, 34-51, 35-55, 33-55, 32-55, 34-64, 33-61, 35-63, 37-64, 27-61, 39-68, 33-57, 32-56, 35-56, 32-62, 33-60, 12-80, 35-59, 27-57-1, 30-58, 31-53, 9-40, 39-60, 34-57, 33-56, 34-61, 35-58, 32-59-1, 30-57, 32-60, 33-60, 35-58, 31-58, 37-60, 36-18, 31-55, 25-55, 31-58, 18-67, 31-58, 29-60, 35-61, 25-44, 26-47, 25-51-1, 25-52-1, 32-54, 31-52, 31-53, 30-52, 29-54, 29-50, 28-52, 28-53, 26-54, 31-54, 33-50, 32-54, 34-55, 34-50, 32-55, 30-54, 31-53, 31-54, 25-51, 26-50, 29-47, 29-47, 26-50, 19-39, 23-45, 28-48, 26-50, 27-50, 28-50, 27-50, 30-49, 32-56, 24-51, 31-52, 29-48, 29-53, 31-56, 23-57, 28-51, 30-51, 25-54, 33-53, 33-55, 34-55, 35-52, 31-45, 37-58, 19-42, 21-47, 23-46, 28-49, 28-51, 24-53, 24-51, 29-55, 30-49, 23-51-1, 26-52, 23-53, 28-59, 18-68, 31-53, 28-58-1, 28-58, 31-56, 32-58, 30-60-1, 32-60, 33-62, 32-59, 32-58, 33-57, 30-58, 31-58, 32-62, 32-59, 30-61, 32-60, 31-57, 29-59, 31-59 and 28-55.

The budget’s paragraphs passed their second readings 52-34 and 57-37, 59-31-1 and 64-30, 52-34 and 57-37, 59-39-1 and 64-30, 62-37 and 59-32, 60-32 and 62-29, 59-31 and  58-28, 47-33 and 59-36, 59-31 and 58-31, 60-32 and 55-30, 59-33 and 58-34, 56-23 and 56-32, 58-33, 49-25, 59-31, 65-26, 43-16, 42-20, 52-28 and 54-32, 59-31, 55-32, 56-28, 56-28 and 54-27, 51-31, 51-25, 49-35, 45-21, 59-27, 60-32, 62-31, 60-33, 61-32, 61-33, 59-30-1, 61-33, 61-25, 60-29, 60-31 and 63-31.

  • Those votes that have an “and” in between them indicate votes taken separately for the 2011 and 2012 budgets.

Speaker Rivlin asked Funds Committee Chairman Gafni if he wishes to bring the budget for a third reading.

Funds Committee Chairman Gafni said that he agreed to bring it for a third reading. He said it was a good budget and that none of the opposition’s objections were accepted by the Knesset, so he has no reason to bring the budget back to the Funds Committee.

The budget passed its third reading 63-33 with 24 MKs not present.

  • The 63 MKs who voted for the budget were 22 of the 27 Likud MKs, 14 of the 15 Yisrael Beitenu MKs, 10 of the 11 Shas MKs, 7 of the 13 Labor MKs, the 5 United Torah Judaism MKs and the 3 Jewish Home MKs. From the opposition, 2 of the 4 National Union MKs- Katzeleh and Ariel- voted for the budget.
  • The 33 MKs who voted against the budget were 20 of the 28 Kadima MKs, the 4 Hadash MKs, the 3 Meretz MKs, 2 of the 4 Ra’am-Ta’al MKs, 2 of the 3 Balad MKs and 1 of the 4 National Union MKs (MK Eldad). The only coalition MK to vote against the budget was Labor MK Ben Simon.
  • 24 MKs were not present for the budget vote- 12 from the coalition and 12 from the opposition.  From the coalition were Likud Ministers Shalom, Livnat, Katz, Erdan and Sa’ar, Yisrael Beitenu’s Foreign Minister Lieberman, Shas MK Amsellem, Labor MKs Peretz, Cabel, Wilf and Yacimovich and Labor Minister Ben-Eliezer. From the opposition were Kadima MKs Ezra, Itzik, Boim, Edery, Tiviaev, Avraham Balila, Tirosh and Mofaz, Ra’am-Ta’al MKs Tibi and Ganaim, Balad MK Naffaa and National Union MK Ben Ari.

Funds Committee Chairman Gafni thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu and the finance minister for listening to his complaints and for tweaking the budget as much as they could. He thanked all of his assistants personally for helping him and thanked all of the other Knesset committee chairmen.

Finance Minister Steinitz thanked Speaker Rivlin and the coalition for supporting the biannual budget and wished for this budget to be as successful as the last biannual budget. He thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu, Coalition Chairman Elkin and Deputy Finance Minister Cohen.


Decision of Interior and Environment Committee regarding the correction of the Clean Air Bill

Decision of Interior and Environment Committee regarding the correction on the Amendment to the Municipalities Ordinance Bill

Interior and Environment Committee Chairman Azoulay (Shas) explained that technical changes were needed to fix two bills due to printing errors.

They were passed 31-0 and 31-0.

MK Aflalo (Kadima) praised Speaker Rivlin for doing the most important work in this year’s budget.

Speaker Rivlin said he appreciates the fact that he is not criticized and that is enough to satisfy him. He closed the session at 21:32.