Monday’s session lasted about three and a half hours. Four bills were discussed. Three bills were advanced after passing their first readings and one bill became law after passing its third reading. The new law discusses the strengthening of buildings for earthquakes. The bills advanced discussed supervision of bank committees, a center for collecting fines, and female representation in public companies’ directorial boards.

Non-Bills Summary

  • Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘Netanyahu government’s cuts in the budgets of the Druze and Circassian sectors’ was defeated 34-54 with 32 MKs not present.
  • The three Israeli-Arab parties’ no-confidence motion titled ‘Raising water prices and gas taxes’ was defeated 31-55 with 34 MKs not present.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Land Bill

Interior Committee Chairman MK Azoulay (Shas) explained that the amendment would require the strengthening of all condominium buildings to withstand earthquakes. He added that buildings that cannot withstand an earthquake may be vacated by the government if two-thirds of the building agrees to the terms.

The bill passed its second reading 43-0.

The bill passed its third reading 44-0.

MK Orlev (J.H.) thanked the Knesset for supporting his bill but warned that this was only the first step. He said he preferred lowering the threshold to 50% of the building, because 50,000 buildings in Israel currently could not withstand an earthquake.

MK Azoulay said he hopes that mayors will help the government enforce these new regulations in their cities in a timely fashion.

Amendment to the Banking Bill

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) explained that the amendment would increase monitoring and supervision on the banks’ directorial committees.

MK Oron (Meretz) said he feels private interests are controlling the banks in Israel and this bill will help cover that fact up.

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) said that he felt there should be no government interference in private business and therefore he was against the bill.

The bill passed its first reading 24-0 and was sent to the Funds Committee.

The two objectors to the bill did not vote.

Amendment to the Center to Collect Fines, Fees and Expenses Bill

Deputy Minister Gamliel (Likud) explained that the amendment would combine the records for fines, fees and expenses in one center that would have the power to increase interest on unpaid debts once a year. She hoped this bill would help increase the collection of unpaid debts citizens have towards the country which, in turn, would increase the State budget.

MK Sheetrit said that he offered a similar bill and it was rejected. He said that the current situation is a bit crazy and something needs to be done to change it. He said that right now there are over a million unpaid debts to the country that account for over a trillion NIS. He added that some fines are too high because of long unpaid interest and should be lowered.

MK Zeev (Shas) offered a quote from Parshat Bahar that forbids interest. He blasted the bill that will make it easier to take a refrigerator or a bed from a poor person who has no money. He said he hoped those supporting the bill will be able to sleep tonight knowing they voted for a bill that will throw people out on the street.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) called the bill terrible. He talked about the Sochat trial, in which two people were forced to confess to a murder and then released nine months later when the real murderers were found. He said he was afraid that it was a widespread phenomenon that the police do when they can’t find a killer. He said he was worried about the people who are serving life sentences but are really innocent.

The bill passed its first reading 15-0 with MK Zeev abstaining and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Companies Bill

Deputy Minister Gamliel explained that the amendment would require representation from both sexes on the board of a public company. She added that the amendment would require at least one female representative who is not a wife, sister, mother or daughter of another board member.

MK Ben Ari said that there is equality between the sexes and that this bill will hurt that. He said women should be at home putting their kids to bed at night, instead of staying at work late for board meetings. He went on to criticize the left for supporting terrorists and demanded they protect their children instead.

MK Rotem (Y.B.) said that the bill comes from a good place. He said that the chairman in his house is his wife and that there is no need for legislation. He blasted the bill that allows the minority to choose a female representative who is not wanted by the controlling interests of a company.

Deputy Minister Gamliel responded that under the bill the controlling interests would present a list of recommendations and the minority would choose a candidate from the list.

The bill passed its first reading 13-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

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