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.

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