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.

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