Archive for February, 2011

The latest Dahaf poll’s attempt to create a scenario where the left would be able to form a coalition falls short; however, it did create a scenario where a national unity government would be likely. Dahaf asked the callers to pick a party, then repeated the question including a fictitious party headed by Aryeh Deri, the left-leaning former leader of Shas who was convicted in 2000 of accepting bribes while serving as interior minister and sentenced to three years in jail. According to the poll an Aryeh Deri party would win seven seats, taking two seats each from Kadima, Likud and Shas and one from Yisrael Beitenu. It is surprising that Yishai’s Shas would only lose two seats to Deri, who led Shas to 17 seats in 1999 and has remained popular in the Sephardi ultra-orthodox community. In the Deri scenario the right-wing bloc of Likud-Y.B.-Shas and the three smaller right-leaning parties would capture 58 seats, compared to 50 in the center-left bloc including Deri’s seven seats and the Green Party’s two seats. A national unity government of the three biggest parties, Kadima-Likud-Y.B., would receive 64 seats and would be able to form a coalition.

If elections held today (expressed in Knesset seats), first column with Deri’s party and second column without. Current Knesset seats in [brackets].
28 30 [28] Kadima
21 23 [27] Likud
15 16 [15] Yisrael Beitenu
08 10 [11] Shas
07 07 [08] Labor
06 06 [03] Meretz
06 06 [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
05 05 [04] National Union
03 03 [03] Jewish Home/NRP
12 12 [11] Arab parties
02 02 [—] Green party
00 00 [05] Independence led by Ehud Barak
07 — [—] Party headed by Aryeh Deri

Telephone poll of a representative sample of 500 adult Israelis (including
Arab Israelis) carried out by Dahaf for Yediot Achronot the week of 20
February 2011 and published on 25 February 2011.

Tuesday’s session lasted about two hours and fifteen minutes, including a short recess in the middle. No bills were discussed. Two motions were discussed, but neither was voted on. The short day had a low attendance with a plenum that never reached double digits at any time during the day. In fact, only one-third of the MKs were in the building when Speaker Rivlin opened the session.


Non-Bills Summary

  • 18 MKs participated in the ‘One Minute Speech’ segment of the day. The economy and Gilad Shalit were the main topics.
  • A motion on the Jubilee of the Bar Association was discussed by Speaker Rivlin and six MKs.
  • A motion on Gilad Shalit, who has been in captivity for more than 1,700 days, was discussed by Speaker Rivlin and eight MKs.

Monday’s session lasted about five hours. Two bills were discussed. The Foreign Entity Funds Disclosure Requirement Bill became law after a heated debate followed by a 40-34 vote in the third reading. A bill on public companies and Israeli bonds was advanced after passing its first reading. Three no-confidence motions were defeated.


Non-Bills Summary

  • Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘Overbooked Hospitals in distress – Health Minister Netanyahu ignores and endangers the lives of patients’ was defeated 45-56 with 19 MKs not present.
  • Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The impasse in the political and economic sectors of the Netanyahu government’ was defeated 42-57 with 21 MKs not present.
  • The three Israeli-Arab parties’ joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The government’s harassment of civilians and the destruction of a village in the Negev’ was defeated 16-61-13 with 30 MKs not present.
  • Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) outlined the government opposition to the attempt to revive a bill from last term as requested by the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee. MK Oron (Meretz) tried to convince the MKs to support it. The request was defeated 44-58.
  • Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) requested the Knesset’s approval of the transfer of certain powers from the Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) to himself. Six MKs gave their speeches on the subject from the podium. It was approved 55-6.
  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced that MK Schneller (Kadima) will replace MK Abesadze (Kadima) in the State Comptroller Committee. He also announced which disputed bills will be discussed in which committees.


Bills Summary

Foreign Entity Funds Disclosure Requirement Bill

Law, Constitution and Justice Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) explained that the bill will force all companies and organizations, both profit and non-profit, to disclose to the tax authorities the incoming cash flow from all foreign countries and foreign companies. Kadima MKs, led by MKs Yoel Hasson and Adatto, heckled Rotem as he presented the bill. He called the hundreds of opposition objections to the bill jokes and a parody.

MK Molla (Kadima) objected to the bill on the grounds that it isn’t equal. He said that private contributions should be added to the bill, but MK Rotem refuses because he wants to hurt the left-wing contributors without hurting the right-wing ones. He labeled the bill ‘anti-democratic’. He added that he asked for America and other friendly countries to be exempt from this bill and that it only apply to enemy countries like Iran. He also added that Israelis who don’t live in Israel should be added to bill as well. He praised the human rights organizations and the foreign countries that fund them and blasted the bill that would hurt them. He labeled the bill an ‘anti-democratic, racist and populist’ bill. He called MK Elkin an extremist deserter who was always too right-wing for Kadima. He accused Netanyahu of competing with Liberman over who is more of a right-wing extremist. He charged that MK Ben Ari (N.U.) was navigating Netanyahu and all of the government’s policies. (MK Ben Ari could be seen chuckling during MK Molla’s speech.) Molla went on to call Ben Ari an occupier (settler).  Molla told Ben Ari that he is burying Zionism and trying to destroy democracy and called him an extreme right-wing coalition member. (It should be noted that MK Ben Ari and National Union sit in the opposition along with Kadima). MK Ben Ari attempted to respond and defend himself but Deputy Speaker Whbee (Kadima) silenced him. Molla concluded by saying that this Yisrael Beitenu bill is dangerous and will change democracy as we know it. (It should be noted that the sponsor of the bill was MK Elkin from Likud).

MK Oron (Meretz) agreed that the bill is anti-democratic, something he said has become a weekly event. He said that transparency of funds from foreign governments and companies can’t be outlawed when funds from a foreign citizen don’t need to be transparent. He called it hypocrisy. He said that there are limits to what a majority can do to a minority and this government has passed what is acceptable with this bill. He called the coalition a bunch of bullies.

MK Horowitz (Meretz) called this one of a tsunami of anti-democratic bills. He said there seems to be a competition among Likud MKs over who can bring and pass the most anti-democratic bill in the Knesset. He suggested that the answer lies within the Likud primary system where out of the 27 current MKs only 18 MKs can be re-elected to realistic spots within the first 35. He explained the outcome of such a system is that nine of the Likud MKs sitting here will not be in the next Knesset. He said the fight over who won’t be among the third of the MKs to go home is fierce and it promotes these types of votes in order to please Likud Central Committee members. He alleged that Liberman, who Horowitz claims will be in jail soon, wishes to bring down the left along with him. He blasted the pardon of disengagement prisoners, the prohibition on the Arabs celebrating “the tragedy” instead of Independence Day, allowing neighborhood committees to prohibit entrance to Arab families, prohibition of boycotting the government, discrimination against those who don’t serve in the army, the demolishing of Arab homes, taking away Arab MKs’ rights and pensions and several other bills which he claim create a chilling effect. He said this is just another anti-democratic bill among dozens. He called the countries giving money to leftist groups good friends. He summarized by labeling the bill a political bill.

MK Zuaretz (Kadima) said there is no such thing as partial transparency and blasted the bill. She said the U.N. vote this week proved that the world views Israel as illegitimate. She warned this bill will embarrass what few friends we might have left in Europe. She suggested not drying up the well that we are drinking out of. She wondered how Israel would feel if Zaire told us they were supervising our humanization aid to their country. She said the only ones who are hurting Israel and its legitimacy are Netanyahu, his ministers and the coalition MKs. She called on the right to show transparency of which businessmen are funding their parties. She accused right-wing organization “Im Tirtzu” of giving money to Iran.

MK Khenin (Hadash) said there is no problem of transparency of leftist groups in Israel. He demanded that the right reveal who funded the campaign to pass this bill. He called the “occupied and conquered” territories illegal. He said that this bill is based on fear. He warned the right that the left has a very strong base in Tel Aviv and will fight the settler lovers and said he predicts there will be eventually a leftist victory.

MK Swaid (Hadash) said this was among a flood of anti-democratic bills that violates international law. He warned the Knesset that the Supreme Court will overrule this bill and therefore they shouldn’t even bother passing it.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) labeled the bill McCarthyism. He slammed the government and Zionist organizations that receive exemptions from this bill.

MK Zahalka (Balad) stated this bill is targeting human rights organizations, which will allow the government to violate human rights easier than before. He said there are very few human rights organizations and they have few resources, and now the government wants to shut them up. He called on the Knesset to take the political anti-democratic bill and throw it in the trash where it belongs.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) said that he wished to learn the terminology of the prior speakers’ slogans of human rights. He called them hypocrites for talking about human rights when just a few months ago they visited with Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi and were his honored guests. He noted they called Gaddafi king of all kings. He said that it is a total disgrace for these same MKs who get up and talk about human rights when they stand behind Gaddafi, who is killing thousands and leading a genocide. He stressed these MKs don’t care about human rights. He asked where these MKs were when 8,000 people were kicked out of their houses against their will and where their human rights were then. He asked what the definition of anti-democratic is. He answered democracy is what the majority decides, not the minority. He asked where the human rights are for the residents of the Tikva neighborhood in Jerusalem who are being robbed, assaulted and raped by the Sudanese illegals. He summarized by saying that Israeli organizations shouldn’t be receiving funds from our enemies in Iran and Syria, and this bill will put an end to that by exposing which human rights organizations are working for Ahmadinejad. He concluded by saying the left are the ones who are trying to install fear because they are afraid that the bill will expose them and who their real friends are.

MK Cabel (Labor) asked the government who they are afraid of. He asked if they thought this would fix Israel’s problems. He warned this bill brings division in the country instead of unity. He said this bill is part of the competition between Likud and Yisrael Beitenu over who is more right-wing.

Speaker Rivlin expressed his personal support for the bill.

Minister Eitan (Likud) said it hurts him that Cabel opposes the bill. Eitan praised Cabel, who refused a ministerial position earlier in the term. Eitan went on to say that most of the human rights organizations favor the bill and only a small minority oppose it. He summarized that the bill is a worthy bill and one that is much weaker than the American and European equivalents.

Law, Constitution and Justice Committee Chairman Rotem confessed he is surprised by the opposition to the bill, particularly from MK Cabel. He explained that MK Herzog (Labor) demanded certain changes at the passing of the first reading, and those changes were made. He noted that the New Israel Fund also supported the bill. Therefore, he felt that a bill that was drafted with the cooperation of Labor and the NIF should result in Cabel supporting the bill. Heckling followed for several minutes until the coalition MKs showed up for the vote.

MK Khenin agreed on behalf of the opposition to remove all of their objections except for one.

The bills paragraphs passed their second readings 38-33 and 40-34.

The opposition’s single objection that was brought for a vote was defeated 33-38.

The bill passed its third reading 40-34.

Amendment to the Companies Bill

Justice Minister Neeman explained the amendment would allow public companies to buy Israeli bonds, something that they are currently prohibited to do. He listed the six requirements that the public companies need to meet in order to take advantage of the bill.

MK Ariel (N.U.) asked the Justice Minister why his ministry is going to demolish the homes of the widows in Eli. He asked why his ministry is enforcing a building freeze in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. He asked if there is one place where Jews aren’t allowed to build a house and if this was legal in any country. He asked why children in Hebron don’t have a kindergarten. He asked when the last Gush Katif refugees will move to their permanent homes. He concluded that this bill is apparently more important than any of the topics he mentioned above.

MK Ben Ari pondered if this was the bill that the public thought about when they voted for a right-wing government. He said he knows where the left and the Arabs are going, but he asked where Netanyahu and the Likud are going because that is something no one seems to know. He slammed the government for the housing crisis that is causing people to postpone getting married and having kids. MK Majadele (Labor) heckled and Ben Ari responded that Majadele, who calls himself a Palestinian, should go live with Abu Mazen where he is wanted. Majadele responded that Ben Ari isn’t wrong. Ben Ari concluded by slamming the government for not defending the border with Gaza and blasted Netanyahu for voting for the disengagement. He called the government a big talker who does nothing.

The bill passed its first reading 11-2 and was sent to the Justice Committee.


Below is Hebrew dialogue between MKs Ben Ari and Majadele, taken from the official protocol.
מיכאל בן-ארי (האיחוד הלאומי):

איזו בשורה. טוב, שמעתי אותך. איזו בשורה – אתה, תלך לאבו מאזן, אתה והחברים שלך, לך לאבו מאזן, מצא מין את מינו, לך לאבו מאזן, זה המקום שלך.

גאלב מג’אדלה (העבודה):

נכון, לא טעית.

מיכאל בן-ארי (האיחוד הלאומי):

שמענו אותך, אתה אמרת: אני פלסטיני, אני לא ציוני. שמענו אותך, אנחנו יודעים בדיוק. אני מדבר על הליכוד, אני לא מדבר על אויבים עכשיו.

גאלב מג’אדלה (העבודה):

נכון. לא טעית.

מיכאל בן-ארי (האיחוד הלאומי):

אני לא מדבר על האויבים.

גאלב מג’אדלה (העבודה):

לא טעית.

Last Wednesday’s session lasted about eight hours. Eleven bills were discussed. One bill became law after passing its third reading, and four bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings. Five bills were defeated, and one was pulled to avoid defeat. The new law will encourage homeowners to put multiple apartments on the market by eliminating certain taxes for a limited time. Among the bills advanced are one that would allow a couple to get married in any rabbinical council and one that would extend the cooling off period for a mayor’s director-general. MK Zahalka created a big scene during the discussion of a bill aimed at discouraging illegal mining by using profanity while shouting and screaming at the bill’s sponsor in front of a third grade class audience, which resulted in Zahalka’s removal. MK Yoel Hasson was also removed from the plenum during the discussion of a different bill for his routine heckling.


Non-Bills Summary

  • Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) and Deputy Education Minister Moses (U.T.J.) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.
  • Ten motions were discussed on the various hot topics of the day. Six of the motions were passed on to committee discussion by votes of 9-3, 6-0, 9-1, 8-0, 9-0 and 5-0. Two motions were defeated by votes of 1-3-1 and 2-4. Two motions were not voted on and thereby not sent to committee.
  • Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) answered several queries at the end of the session.


Bills Summary

Amendment to the Local Authorities Elections Bill

MK Miller (Y.B.) explained that his amendment would prohibit a mayor’s Director General to be elected as mayor. He stated the current law requires a three-month cooling-off period, which he called ridiculous since the Director General can make his decision to run for mayor a year or two before then and use his position to be promoted to mayor.

Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) expressed government support for the bill.

MK Bar-On (Kadima) expressed his opposition to the bill, claiming the bill is tailored to serve Yisrael Beitenu because they currently have few mayors and directors-general. Bar-On said that we should encourage good people to run for mayor and that directors-general are, in many cases, the mayor’s right hand man and chosen successor and therefore worthy of running for public office. He noted that the prime minister’s director-general does not need a cooling off period, so why does a mayor’s director-general?

MK Miller stated that Kadima passed cooling off period bills for ramatkals and journalists to enter the Knesset for personal interests. He stressed that a mayor’s director-general has more power, authority and responsibility than the deputy mayor and therefore there is a real conflict of interest for him to run for mayor without a longer cooling off period.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 40-15-1 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Mining Ordinance Bill

MK Ariel (N.U.) explained that his amendment would prohibit certain actions in unauthorized mining zones. He stated by prohibiting certain actions in an unauthorized mine it would add another crime for someone who operates an unauthorized mine.

National Infrastructure Minister Landau (Y.B.) expressed government support for the bill.

MK Zahalka (Balad) expressed his opposition to the bill on the grounds that the bill goes after the illegal Arab black market and scares Israeli buyers from buying mining products from Palestinians who illegally operate within Area C. He called on the Knesset to vote against this settler bill from a settler MK.

MK Ariel told Zahalka that asking the Knesset not to vote for his bill because he is a settler is discrimination and racist. Zahalka responded by heckling and screaming at Ariel for five minutes. Ariel never had a chance to finish his speech. Speaker Rivlin called Zahalka to order several times and suggested he behave in front of the third grade class that was sitting in the audience. Zahalka refused and kept screaming until Speaker Rivlin threw him out after calling him to order three times. Ariel filed a complaint with the Ethics Committee after Zahalka used profanity against him repeatedly while resisting his removal from the plenum by Knesset security.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 57-3 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Employment of Contractor Employees Bill

MK Haim Katz (Likud) explained his amendment would correct the technical loopholes that the contracting companies have used to bypass the bill.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 59-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Amendment to the Water Bill

MK Edery (Kadima) explained that his amendment would set a national tariff on water and add a few public appointments to the water supervising board. He blasted the Likud MKs who voted for raising the water prices and then went out and told the press that they opposed the raising of water prices.

National Infrastructure Minister Landau expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that most of the water in Israel has become privatized and regulated. He stated there is no need to force people to pay a single price for water and it should be cheaper or more expensive depending on the area one lives in. He said that a public appointment in a private company is a dangerous thing from which the government wishes to stay away.

The bill was defeated 31-51.

Amendment to the National Health Insurance Bill

MK Adatto (Kadima) explained her amendment would create a public committee to examine expanding the basket of health services provided by the health ministry. She said she hoped this would encourage the addition of more subsidized drugs.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the ministerial committee of experts on this subject should maintain their responsibilities, power and authority. He stated that the ministry hires the most qualified people, not the most popular people, and therefore there is no reason for a public committee. He defended the tough choices the ministerial committee made this year given their tight budget, as they did every year before that.

MK Adatto defended her bill and said that the public committee could have a lot of the same members of the ministerial committee, along with a few “popular” people. She blasted the ministerial committee’s decisions this year and in past years.

The bill was defeated 22-44.

Two Amendments to the Minimum Wage Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained that her amendment would raise the minimum wage level. She noted that this is the fourth such bill proposed this term and she expects this to be the fourth such bill defeated this term. She said that raising rent as well as gas and bread prices require an increase to the minimum wage. She noted that the average monthly salary in November was NIS 8,340, compared to the minimum wage of NIS 3,961. She stressed her proposal will add less than NIS 500 to the minimum wage.

MK Barakeh (Hadash) explained that with his similar bill he wishes to accomplish the same thing as Solodkin’s bill.  He called on the Knesset to vote for both bills.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon expressed government opposition to both bills. He explained that minimum wage is a complicated subject and the opposition must learn to live with the changes that will take place, which include raising the minimum wage gradually over the next year based on the State budget.

MK Solodkin set that the nation is done waiting and a gradual raise is not acceptable.

The first bill was defeated 29-46.

The second bill was defeated 28-46.

Amendment to the Water and Sewage Bill

National Infrastructure Minister Landau asked MK Tirosh and MK Gafni not to present their bill and to delay the vote on it.

MK Tirosh (Kadima) explained that her amendment would exempt water rates from VAT (value added tax). She said she waited seven months to present this bill and will not wait any longer. She stated that the government is sticking their hand into the citizens’ pockets and robbing the public. She got into a screaming match with MK Regev (Likud) over the Likud MKs’ double standard, claiming they are for her bill but will end up voting against it. Deputy Speaker Akunis (Likud) removed MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) from the plenum for joining the fight.

The bill was defeated 34-50.

Amendment to the Marriage and Divorce Ordinance Bill

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for MK Schneller’s (Kadima) bill. He stated the bill would allow a couple to register to get married in any regional registration center. He explained this would repeal the law that forces the couple to pick one of the cities that the couple lives in to go through the marriage process. Deputy Speaker Akunis announced that MK Schneller is allowing the MKs to vote on his bill even though he is not present.

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

Amendment to the Pharmacists Ordinance Bill

MK Khenin (Hadash) explained that his amendment would require the mandatory collection, enforced by pharmacies, of therapeutic drugs that could cause environmental damage. He said that recycling must be encouraged in general and recycling materials that are directly hazardous to the environment are a public obligation. He decided to pull the bill and delay the vote after seeing that he didn’t have a majority to pass it.

Temporary Order Amendment on the Real Property Tax Bill

MK Gafni (U.T.J.) explained the amendment would increase the supply of residential apartments on the open market by eliminating certain taxes on those who wish to sell more than one of their apartments at once. He explained the bill will be retroactive to January 1st, 2011, and will be a temporary order that will expire next year.

The bill passed its second reading 16-0.

The bill passed its third reading 18-0.

A poll taken out by Maagar Mohot proves that even in a scenario where Liberman doesn’t take part in the next elections and the left wing’s savior Shelly Yacimovich leads the Labor party, Netanyahu’s Likud would form the next government. In the poll, Netanyahu’s Likud has a two-seat edge over Livni’s Kadima party 32-30, a gain of five and three seats, respectively. Yisrael Beitenu without Lieberman drops a seat to 14 and Labor led by Yacimovich drops to 7 seats. If Yishai leads Shas his party only loses one seat, and the other parties remain unchanged, aside from Meretz, which would pick up one seat. Another possible outcome would be a national-unity government of Likud and Kadima which could hold a narrow 62-seat coalition. As for president, Speaker Rivlin (Likud) leads former Speaker Itzik (Kadima) 61% to 15% with former minister Sharansky claiming 24% of the vote.

Telephone poll of a representative sample of 501 adult Israelis, including Israeli Arabs, carried out by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz) the week of 18 February and published in the Makor Rishon paper on 18 February 2011

In this poll Yisrael Beitenu was not headed by Liberman. Ehud Barak’s Independence party did not get enough votes to get into the Knesset.

If elections were held today (expressed in Knesset seats) Current Knesset seats in [brackets].

32 [27] Likud headed by Netanyahu
30 [28] Kadima headed by Livni
14 [15] Yisrael Beitenu not headed by Liberman
10 [11] Shas headed by Yishai
07 [08] Labor headed by Shelly Yacimovich
00 [05] Independence headed by Barak
05 [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
03 [03] Jewish Home/NRP
04 [03] Meretz
04 [04] National Union
11 [11] Arab parties

Who would you like to be the next president?
Rivlin 61% Itzik 15% Sharansky 24%

32 [27] Likud headed by Netanyahu
30 [28] Kadima headed by Livni
14 [15] Yisrael Beitenu not headed by Liberman
10 [11] Shas headed by Yishai

07 [08] Labor headed by Shelly Yacimovich

00 [05] Independence headed by Barak
05 [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
03 [03] Jewish Home/NRP
04 [03] Meretz
04 [04] National Union
11 [11] Arab parties

Tuesday’s session lasted about three 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 adapts the Knesset Bill to the Basic Law: Knesset. The bills advanced would crack down on sex offenders, extend the recycling refunds of the 25 agurot labels and appoint the Chief Military Rabbi to the Israeli Chief Rabbi Council. Tourism Minister Misezhnikov had a question hour.


Non-Bills Summary

  • 27 MKs participated in the ‘One Minute Speech’ segment that opened the day.
  • 8 MKs asked queries during Tourism Minister Misezhnikov’s (Y.B.) question hour.
  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced that MK Eichler (U.T.J.) will replace Deputy Education Minister Moses (U.T.J.) in a sub-committee following Moses’ promotion, which prohibits him from being a committee member.


Bills Summary

Amendment to the Knesset Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) explained that the amendment is a number of technical changes that allows the Knesset Bill, which was legislated in 2001, to match up with Basic Law: Knesset.

The bill passed its second reading 3-0.

The bill passed its third reading 3-0.

Amendment to the Protecting the Public from Sex Offenders Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin explained that the amendment would prohibit the advertising, publication and presentation of obscene and sexual abuse pictures taken of a minor or a helpless person. He explained that a wide range of situations and circumstances will be added into the existing bill, including tracking those who violate this law frequently.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) suggested television encourages sexual offences. He blasted the reality show ‘Big Brother’, which has the highest ratings in the country. He slammed the producer for his controversial sexist comments on live TV this week and said the show teaches our children to look at women as objects. He warned parents watching that their television is a sex predator and must be thrown out. He called on the viewers to throw their televisions out their window and promised them a better quality of life.

MK Levy-Abekasis (Y.B.), who sponsored the bill, stressed the importance of adding many more circumstances to be included in the current law that will keep our children safe. She repeated that the bill is marked to prevent repeated offenders from preying on our children.

MK Naffaa (Balad) complained that Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) doesn’t prevent the hiring of sexual offenders in the education ministry. He noted that education ministry employees who are sexual offenders don’t receive increased sentences either.

MK Yacimovich (Labor) explained that offenses of pornography will be added into this bill. She blasted those who wish to separate sexual predators from pornography and stressed that they are both wrong. She said that pornography is violence, promotes violence and shouldn’t be allowed.

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

Amendment to the Refund on Recycling Beverage Containers Bill

MK Vaknin (Shas) explained that his amendment would extend the validity of refunding the consumer for any alcoholic beverage that he is recycling with a 25 agurot label on it, as opposed to a 30 agurot label, for another six months.

The bill passed its first reading 8-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Bill

MK Ariel (N.U.) explained that his amendment would award the Chief Military Rabbi a permanent seat on the Israeli Chief Rabbi Council, a promotion from the position he has today of just an observer. He noted that the Chief Military Rabbi supervises kashrut and other religious affairs for about one million people, and he deserves a seat on the council. He noted the council has 150 members and it is about time to allow the Chief Military Rabbi membership in the exclusive club. He called on the public to send the MKs they voted for ideas for legislation and told the viewers that the MKs will pursue them. He added that the bill forces the Ramatkal (Chief of Staff) to appoint a rabbi recognized by the State of Israel to the position of Chief Military Rabbi, a clause that currently is not in the law. He expressed hope this would prevent the appointment of a future Chief Military Rabbi that might be reform.

MK Ben Ari expressed his support for the bill and praised the army and the rabbinate, which support the bill as well. Ben Ari went on to blast the government for not lowering the gas prices of diesel and solar fuel. He blasted the tax that raised the price of solar fuel by 700% over the past nine years.

MK Schneller (Kadima) supported and praised MK Ariel and his bill, calling it one of the most important bills of the term. He said that he was proud to be a co-sponsor of the bill. MK Majadele (Labor) heckled Schneller by calling the military rabbis bad names. Screaming and shouting lasted for a few minutes until Deputy Speaker Tibi (R.T.) regained order.

MK Cabel (Labor) supported and praised the bill and pledged the Labor party’s support.

MK Zeev (Shas) explained that the council is not a political body, but a rabbinical one. He expressed government support for the bill. He praised the clause that would force the Ramatkal to appoint a rabbi recognized by the State of Israel to the position of Chief Military Rabbi, and warned that without that clause Shas will vote against the bill. He hoped that this bill would bring the rabbis closer to the soldiers that defend Israel’s borders. Zeev thanked Deputy Speaker Tibi for not attacking him after the words they exchanged yesterday during the Azmi Bishara Bill. MK Majadele and Tibi demanded that Zeev apologize for his behavior. Zeev refused and demanded Tibi apologize for cursing former MK Rav Kahaneh and his son, who were both assassinated by Tibi’s friends. Zeev stressed that no one should curse a former MK who was assassinated. Majadele and Tibi screamed at Zeev as he went back to his seat to vote.

The bill passed its first reading 11-0, with Deputy Speaker Tibi abstaining, and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Monday’s session lasted about five hours. Four bills were discussed. Two bills were advanced after passing their first readings and two bills became law after passing their third readings. The highlight bill of the day was the Azmi Bishara Bill, which revokes the former Balad party leader’s Knesset pension because he fled the country after being charged with treason. The government survived three no-confidence motions, and a special session was held in memory of former Speaker Dov Shilansky.

Non-Bills Summary

  • Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘Two Years after Elections: Israel’s citizens are collapsing under the duress of the Netanyahu government’s tax decrees’ was defeated 38-56 with 26 MKs not present.
  • Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The wave of increasing prices in the market that hurts the poor sectors in the economy, that are deepening the social polarization tax policies, which benefit the few and grazes the rest’ was defeated 38-56 with 26 MKs not present.
  • The three Israeli-Arab parties’ joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The rise in prices of basic commodities that hurts vulnerable sections of the population, particularly the Arab communities in the periphery’ was defeated 34-57 with 29 MKs not present.
  • A special session was held in memory of the 12th Knesset’s Speaker Dov Shilansky who passed away 30 days earlier. Speaker Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Opposition Leader Livni (Kadima) and Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) spoke.
  • Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) presented the government announcement on the transfer of certain powers from Finance Minister Steinitz (Likud) to Justice Minister Neeman in order to avoid a conflict of interest. It was accepted 25-0 with 2 MKS abstaining.
  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced which disputed bills would be discussed in which committees. He also announced that MK Eichler (U.T.J.) will replace MK Moses (U.T.J.), who was recently promoted to deputy education minister, in the House, Finance and Education-Culture-Sport committees as well as in two sub-committees.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Parks, Nature Reserves, National Sites and Monuments Bill

Environment Minister Erdan (Likud) explained the amendment would provide the reimbursement of expenses to the Parks, Nature Reserves, National Sites and Monuments Authority’s assembly members. He noted that there are over one thousand workers in the authority and it is not respectable for the assembly members of this important authority to have to pay their expenses out of their own pocket.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) said that the authority is important, but blasted the authority for not appointing at least one ultra-orthodox assembly member. He also questioned if this bill was necessary as it places an additional tax burden on the public.

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

Amendment to the National Insurance Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) explained the amendment would extend a trial run of presenting those who are entitled to government funds with those funds directly without a middleman for an additional two years.

The bill passed its second reading 9-0.

The bill passed its third reading 13-0.

Amendment to the Banking Bill

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) explained the amendment would award licensing of additional credit cards companies in Israel. He added that the bill would prohibit credit card companies from charging businesses for every transaction that involves the clearing of a credit or a debit card on a machine or cash register.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) confessed he didn’t understand the bill. He went on to blast the credit card companies and the cellular phone companies and called them thieves. He complained that the cellular companies charge him for eight phone lines when he only uses two. He called on the public to stop using credit cards and to take money out of the bank and pay for everything in cash. He warned that credit cards and purchases in payments bring poverty.

The bill passed its first reading 19-0, and the House Committee will decide which committee will discuss it further.

Denial of payments to MKs and former MKs who have committed offenses against the State of Israel Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) explained that the amendment puts an end to Azmi Bishara’s pension. He announced that the main sponsor of the bill, Yisrael Hasson (Kadima), asked that the bill be brought up for a vote even though he is overseas. Levin told Zahalka and Tibi that Israel is no longer a sucker and suggested they distance themselves from the traitor Bishara. He reminded the coalition members that the government and all of its ministers supports this bill. He stated that it is absurd that someone who spied for Lebanon during the last war could receive a monthly pension from the State of Israel. He said that this bill sends a message to those who wish to use democracy while they support terrorism. He added that the bill applies only to crimes committed while an MK and only crimes that carry a punishment of ten years or more. He noted that after the MK is deceased, the pension would be reinstituted for the MK’s family. He stressed the point of the bill is to prevent the tax payers from taking money out of their pockets every month for Bishara’s pension. He concluded that not one country would tolerate a situation like this and not one country would allow this situation to go on for five years unanswered. He called on the MKs to defeat all of the objections.

MK Barakeh (Hadash) blasted the police detectives and investigators who bugged Bishara’s MK office. He asked if Bishara really spied against Israel, why wouldn’t Israel prevent him from leaving the country? He called the charges against Bishara politically motivated and called this bill a political bill that has been tailored carefully so it would affect only one man. He blasted the logic behind the legislative body of government acting as the executive and judicial branches in this bill. He said that it is dangerous for democracy when the lawmaker becomes the judge and the executioner. He called those who support the bill thieves who wish to take away a pension that a man earned. He stressed that this bill will not kill or damage Bishara and his legacy, but it will damage the morality of Israel’s democary. He concluded by blasting the opposition members who support the bill and noted that the bill was sponsored by an oppostion member.

MK Oron (Meretz) opposed the bill on the grounds that this bill violates the separation of the branches of government. He asked why every convicted felon, included one who killed his four children still receives a pension, but Bishara, who never went through a trial, is not entitled to one. He said that a pension is a democratic right that should not be taken away in any instance or circumstance. He stressed that there are many Jews who support his view on the bill and this is not a bill that pits Jews against Arabs.

MK Zahalka (Balad) revealed that Bishara is now president of an Arab research think tank and that he doesn’t need his pension money. He stated the problem with the bill is in principle and that it is a personal bill against one person. He stressed this bill proves that there is no separation of powers in the Israeli government and that Arabs are guilty until proven innocent and not the other way around. He said he doesn’t understand how a lawmaker can act as the prosecution and the judge. He said that a pension is private property and it is immoral to prevent one from receiving it, no matter what crime he committed. He asked why a pension can be taken from an MK but not from a judge or a college professor. He slammed the bill and called it political. He called supporters of the bill fascists. He called Bishara an innocent intellectual. He noted that Bishara is still quoted today in the Israeli education and civics books and is a great man. He concluded by saying that the bill is an embarrassment.

MK Zoabi (Balad) tried to start her speech but MK Regev (Likud) heckled her for a few minutes. Deputy Speaker Avraham Balila (Kadima) called Regev to order twice and almost threw her out. After order to the room was restored, Zoabi called the deputy speaker a man, which did not go over well. Zoabi went on to give her speech supporting Bishara and blasted the politically motivated bill. Pandemonium broke out between the coalition MKs and Arab MKs several times throughout Zoabi’s speech and Deputy Speaker Avraham Balila did her best to keep the room somewhat quiet. Zoabi noted this was not a Yisrael Beitenu or National Union bill, but a Kadima bill. She suggested the Israeli government assassinate Bishara, and that it might be less of a mess than passing this bill. Screaming and shouting followed for several minutes. Zoabi said this bill is an attempt to silence the minority opinion, and she warned that it will only motivate them. When Zoabi started to fuel the fire of those heckling her, Deputy Speaker Avraham Balila asked her to step down from the podium. Zoabi concluded that the bill is racist and stepped down.

MK Tibi (R.T.) asked why Jewish former MK Kahane received a pension before he was assassinated but Arab former MK Bishara is not entitled to receive one. MKs Zeev and Regev led the heckling of Tibi’s decision to link the two former MKs in the same sentence. Tibi asked why former Prime Minister Rabin’s murderer, Yigal Amir, can receive a pension, but Bishara, who never saw a judge, cannot. Tibi went on to attack the coalition MKs who preach hate towards the Arab public and attack the leftist Jews’ funds. He called most of the MKs fascists. Tibi attacked Deputy Speaker Avraham Balila for not defending him against the MKs who were calling him a murderer. She responded by suggesting he complain to the ethics committee.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) tried to begin his speech, but the tension in the room made it impossible to speak as shouting from both sides intensified and the name calling began. Speaker Avraham Balila removed MK Regev from the plenum and the room briefly became silent. El-Sana said that Bishara won with this bill because it forced the right to show its ugly face, their hypocrisy and lack of morality. He charged those supporting the bill that they have lowered Israel even beneath the dead sea. This remark resulted in more screaming and shouting. El-Sana called those who support the bills thieves and said they are the same people who support settlers stealing Palestinian land. He called this bill a targeted killing of what is left of Israel’s democarcy. He called those supporting the bill racists, hypocrites, immoral, traitors and stark-mad. The room erupted in more screaming and shouting. El-Sana continued by warning that taking away someone’s pension is retroactive punishment and charged that those supporting the bill are in favor of murderers as long as they are Jewish. Deputy Speaker Avraham Balila asked El-Sana to step down. El-Sana concluded that the ugly face of Israel’s democracy is shown in those who support the bill.

MK Zeev (Shas) quoted the prophet Jeremiah, “Israel’s enemies will unify them”. Zeev called Bishara, the former leader of Balad, an enemy of the State of Israel, a traitor and a liar. He called the bill democratic and reminded the Arabs that Israel doesn’t hang traitors in the town square and he was not deported. Rather, Bishara chose to run away. Zeev noted that a decade ago the head of the Shabak warned that Bishara was a traitor and Israel chose to be a suicidal democracy that ignores such warnings. He warned that Balad MK Zoabi would also betray the State of Israel, beyond her attendance on the flotilla. He blasted the Balad party and asked that they be exempt from the oath they take when they are sworn in to be MKs, since obviously they are committing perjury. He attacked Oron and his morals. He reminded Oron that Bishara was on the phone with the Hezbollah in Lebanon from his Knesset office with a map, directing where the missiles should hit, either more to the left or more to the right, in order to maximize Israeli casualties and fatalities. He said that he would rather be a “thief” than a murderer. He blasted Tibi for comparing Kahane, who was assassinated by Tibi’s friends, to Bishara, who was responsible for countless deaths during the 2006 Lebanon war. Pandemonium broke out as shouting from both sides became deafening. Zeev stressed that Bishara doesn’t deserve a pension because he didn’t fufill his job as an MK, since he was a traitor working for a different government. He charged that Bishara stole the pension he is receiving and suggested one who steals from a thief is exempt from punishment.

The objections on the bill were defeated 10-33 and 11-34.

The rest of the objections were withdrawn.

The bills paragraphs passed their second readings 34-11, 34-11 and 36-11.

The bill passed its third reading 36-11, with a whopping 73 MKs not present for the vote.

House Committee Chairman Levin thanked everyone who helped advance the bill and the MKs who voted for it.

Last Wednesday’s session lasted about seven hours. The coalition played hardball and none of the eight bills discussed were passed. Five of the bills were defeated, one was pulled before voting and two were turned into motions to avoid defeat. Only four of the seven motions made it to a committee. The highlight of the day was that MK Moses (U.T.J.) replaced resigned MK Porush (U.T.J.) as the new Deputy Education Minister.


Non-Bills Summary

  • Justice Minister Neeman, Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) and Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.
  • Religious Affairs Minister Margi (Shas) announced that the government is appointing MK Moses as the replacement for resigned Deputy Education Minister Porush. Incoming Deputy Education Minister Moses thanked Netanyahu for appointing him and pledged to work on ultra-orthodox education.
  • Seven motions were discussed. Four of the motions were passed by votes of 14-0, 7-6, 11-0 and 9-0 and were sent to their relevant committees. Three motions were not voted on and therefore not sent to a committee.


Bills Summary

Motion/Amendment to the Value Added Tax Bill

MK Naffaa (Balad) explained that his amendment would award a VAT (value added tax) exemption on all road safety products. He questioned why there is a VAT exemption on tourists’ massages and not on road safety products. He slammed the VAT on child and baby car seats. He noted that many poor families don’t buy road safety products because they cost a lot of money. He suggested the VAT exemption would encourage at least some of them to purchase at least one car seat that would save at least one life.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill and explained that road safety products are already exempt from customs taxes, which enables the importing companies to keep the prices relatively low. He said that an additional tax break on road safety products is unnecessary since the customs tax exemptions are sufficient. He suggested turning the bill into a motion, in order to explore the matter further in a committee.

MK Naffaa agreed.

The motion passed 55-1 and was sent to the Funds Committee.

Motion/Amendment to the Basic Law: The Knesset

MK Eldad (N.U.) stated that if Defense Minister Barak respected the law and the Knesset rulebook there would be no need for the bill. He explained that his amendment would allow the chairman of the defense and foreign affairs committee to punish the defense minister if he repeatedly refuses to attend the Knesset committee he is repeatedly summoned to and refuses to release documents that he is forced to release under law. Eldad demanded that Barak follow the law and attacked Barak for not answering one query, one motion or one bill this term and for frequently refusing to attend the Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee sessions. He blasted Barak for ignoring Speaker Rivlin’s letters on the subject and the government for protecting Barak and opposing his bill.

Speaker Rivlin announced that he supported Eldad’s bill that attempts to protect the authority and responsibility of the Knesset’s committees. Rivlin asked Eldad to turn the bill into a motion to avoid the government’s attempt to defeat the bill. He stressed that this subject is of vital importance.

Justice Minister Neeman said the government opposes the bill, but he was informed by Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) that the government will support the motion.

The motion passed 44-1 and was sent to the House Committee.

Amendment to the Civil Service Bill

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) explained that his amendment would prevent long-term appointments of government workers overseas. He explained the bill would limit the tenure of working in a foreign country to four years and force the worker to live in Israel for two years following a four-year post. He noted that several appointments are made for ten years and sometimes that results in foreign ministry workers staying in those countries permanently.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the current law has a four year ceiling for overseas appointments and requires a two year post inside Israel following an overseas appointment. He said that only in special circumstances can those appointments be extended. He called the bill unnecessary and a disgrace. He slammed the MKs, particularly from Kadima, for an incredible increase in worthless bills that lower the respect citizens have for the current laws.

MK Sheetrit charged the government with not following the current law and excessively using the “special circumstances” clause. He explained that that is the reason he proposed the bill and rejected Speaker Rivlin’s proposal to turn the bill into a motion.

The bill was defeated 21-50.

Amendment to the Tenants Rights in Public Housing Bill

MK Molla (Kadima) blasted the lack of public housing and revealed that some people have been on the waiting list for over a decade. He explained that his amendment would increase the rental assistance those on the waiting list receive. He said that the current NIS 1,500 that is given as rental assistance is not enough and that his bill will pay the rent in full.

Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas) stated that 135,000 families receive rental assistance from the country and although NIS 1,500 is the average, some receive up to NIS 2,200 per month for rent. He revealed that he supported the bill, but the legislation didn’t pass the ministerial committee of legislative affairs. He announced that people who live in Tel Aviv won’t be happy with 2,200 NIS monthly, but it will be enough to pay rent in Haifa and Hadera. He noted that the country can’t help everyone, but the country is helping 135,000 people, and suggested that the poor leave Gush Dan to maximize their money.

Speaker Rivlin noted that the bill would cost a minimum of NIS 10 billion to implement, and suggested that the money would be better spent elsewhere, such as hiring some of those poor people as policemen so they can contribute toward society and afford rent.

MK Molla attacked Atias, Rivlin and the government, telling them that they were not connected to the common man and may have lost touch with reality.

The bill was defeated 34-49.

Amendment to the Special Grant to Encourage the Negev and Galil Bill

MK Molla explained that his bill would present a one-time grant of NIS 166,000 to those who wish to reside in the Negev and Galil.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the cost is too high.

MK Ben Simon (Labor) said there is no bill that is more just than this one. He suggested taking money from the defense ministry to implement this bill. He attacked the government for encouraging citizens to move to the settlements instead of the Galil and Negev.

The bill was defeated 28-47.

Amendment to the Evidence Ordinance Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained that her amendment would require every defendant to have his lawyer or advocate in attendance during any confession and/or recounting of a crime. She said the current situation that allows the police detectives to force a confession or recounting of a crime without the defendant’s lawyer is a violation of human rights.

Minister Begin (Likud) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the police feel that lawyers will disrupt the investigation. He agreed to Speaker Rivlin’s suggestion to turn the bill into a motion to discuss the matter further.

MK Solodkin dismissed the suggestion to turn the bill into a motion and warned that the bill will be passed in the future, even if it takes her ten years.

The bill was defeated 17-42.

Amendment to the Companies Bill

MK Ghilon (Meretz) blasted most of the MKs for pretending they know what is good for the public and for being populists. He explained his amendment would restrict the salaries of executives in public companies. He went back to preaching and blasted most of the MKs for claiming that they are fighting for the common man for the next ten minutes.

Minister Begin expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that there is a government bill on that topic that is in the works and is a few weeks away from being presented to the plenum. Begin agreed to allow Ghilon to wait for the government bill at Deputy Speaker Vaknin’s (Shas) request.

MK Ghilon dismissed the idea of postponing the vote on his bill and demanded an immediate vote, after he lectured the MKs for an additional five minutes on how bad they are at their jobs.

The bill was defeated 17-39.

Amendment to the Income Support Bill

MK Peretz (Labor) began by slamming the government’s policy of raising indirect taxes. He explained his amendment would allow single mothers to have a car and still collect their government payments for being single mothers. He rejected claims that a car is a luxury item.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) suggested Peretz delay the vote on the bill.

Peretz agreed and pulled the bill.

Last Tuesday’s session lasted about four hours. Two bills were discussed and advanced after passing their first readings. The first bill compensates those renting during the disengagement and the second bill raises the fine and jail time for papers that publish prostitution advertisements. Jewish Identity Day was celebrated in the Knesset’s committees throughout the day, and a motion on the topic was discussed in the plenum as well. The Hasbara Minister and Justice Minister answered queries.


Non-Bills Summary

  • 22 MKs participated in the ‘One Minute Speech’ segment of the day. The main topics discussed were gas prices and Jewish Identity Day.
  • A motion on Jewish Identity Day was discussed by Speaker Rivlin and 14 MKs.
  • Hasbara Minister Edelstein (Likud) answered queries in a question hour.
  • Justice Minister Neeman answered two queries at the end of the session.


Bills Summary

Amendment to the Disengagement Implementation Plan Bill

MK Rotem (U.T.J.) explained the amendment would present a one-time arrangement for private tenants who rented their homes in areas that were evacuated during the 2005 disengagement. He stated that only homeowners received compensation after the disengagement and this bill would provide financial compensation to those who rented there. He noted that most of those renting planned on building a house there and didn’t have enough time to do so. He announced that the bill has co-sponsors from most of the Knesset’s parties.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) said that it has been five and a half years since the ethnic cleansing called the disengagement happened. He noted that it has been ten years since former Prime Minister Sharon was first elected, followed by Sharon betraying his voters and turning them into refugees within their own country. Ben Ari attacked the Sharon and Olmert governments, which refused to pursue the legislation that is being advanced today. He stated that this bill comes too late and offers too little and it is an embarrassment to vote on it five and a half years after the fact.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) called the disengagement a stain on Israel’s history and a disaster. He stated that if citizens were kicked out of their homes for a peace treaty it would be one thing, but the disengagement was something completely different and wrong. He slammed those who took gratification in seeing religious people thrown out of their homes. He blasted the government for there still being Gush Katif homeowner refugees after five and a half years. He called on the government to find a solution for every citizen that was evacuated and has not received permanent housing.

MK Zeev (Shas) recalled that the disengagement was supposed to bring us international legitimacy and financial growth. He stated that Israel is worse off after the disengagement than it was before it. He demanded that those who paid the price of the disengagement be compensated. He noted the bill will only affect those who lived in Gush Katif and North Samaria for at least two years.

MK Eldad (N.U.) noted this was the third amendment to the disengagement bill and it won’t be the last. He stated that after this bill passes there will still be those who don’t have a solution and those people will continue to suffer. He reminded the MKs present that it took NIS 15 billion to evacuate 8,000 people. He asked those present who wish to evacuate more settlers if the country will be able to afford it.

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

Amendment to the Penal Code Bill

MK Khenin (Hadash) explained that the amendment would fine those who publish advertisements for prostitution services NIS 226,000 and said they would also receive an additional punishment of three years in jail.

MK Zuaretz (Kadima) said that all prostitutes are being used and warned that prostitution is slowly becoming mainstream. She hoped this bill would combat prostitution and take another step towards outlawing it completely. She labeled prostitution “consensual rape”. She went on to attack strip clubs that she said lower the respect men have for women. She called the papers that publish prostitution advertisements full partners of human trafficking and women abuse.

MK Zeev supported the bill and praised Khenin and Zuaretz, who were among the main co-sponsors of the bill. He called it an educational bill.

MK Yacimovich (Labor) labeled prostitution “violence against women”. She dismissed claims that there are women who are prostitutes by choice and stressed that all of them are forced into prostitution by pimps.

The bill passed its first reading 8-0 and was sent to the Women’s Rights Committee.

Poll of representative sample of 500 Israeli adults carried out by Geocartography Knowledge Group – Prof. Avi Degani – this week for Israel Television Channel One’s Politika program. results broadcast on 15 February 2011

If elections held today (expressed in Knesset seats) Current Knesset seats in [brackets].

31 [28] Kadima
26 [27] Likud
17 [15] Yisrael Beiteinu
11 [11] Shas
06 [13] Labor
06 [03] Meretz
05 [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
04 [04] National Union
03 [03] Jewish Home/NRP
11 [11] Arab parties
[none of the 500 people polled said that they would vote for Ehud Barak’s