Wednesday’s session lasted about eight hours. Ten bills were discussed, and four of those bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings. Three bills were pulled and two were turned into motions to avoid defeat, while one bill was defeated. The four bills advanced will send a person to jail if he declaws his pet, label youth group counselors as preferred jobs for former soldiers, give a full reimbursement to mothers who take a non-Magen David Adom ambulance trip to give birth at a hospital and create a special prohibition for whistleblowers who are not spies, like Anat Kam.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) and Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.
  • Ten motions were discussed on the hot topics of the day. A motion on the need to establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry following the police shootings in the Gilad Farm was defeated 3-29, and a motion on a proposed agreement to legalize illegal Bedouin Arab settlements was defeated 3-7.  Five motions were passed and sent for further discussion in various committees by the votes 15-0, 10-2, 7-3, 7-2 and 6-0. Two motions were not brought up for a vote.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the National Insurance Bill

MK Maklev (U.T.J.) explained that his amendment will allow non-Magen David Adom ambulances to act as a transport service provider for women who are giving birth free of charge. He stated that under the bill there would be a 100% reimbursement, which will match the current law that applies to Magen David Adom ambulances.

Minister Eitan (Likud) expressed government support for the bill. At the end of his speech he said the government doesn’t support the bill. He admitted he was confused by the paper he was reading off of and asked to confer with the Justice Minister. After a minute he returned to the podium and expressed government support.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) praised the teachers in the gallery who were watching the session.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 43-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss it further.

Amendment to the Penal Code Bill

MK Schneller (Kadima) explained his amendment would create a new prohibition on the use and delivery of confidential information. He stated that currently under the law the prohibition of the use and delivery of confidential information is only when being delivered to an enemy. He pointed out that this amendment will enable a situation where someone like Anat Kam will not be charged with the delivery of confidential information for the enemy but will be charged with the delivery of confidential information. He said that Anat Kam is a criminal, but not a spy, and she deserves to be charged and punished by a different law.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 36-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss it further.

Amendment to the Antitrust Bill/Motion

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained that her amendment would require setting a minimum price for all newspapers that have a high circulation. She slammed Yisrael Hayom as a pro-Netanyahu newspaper that helped him capture the premiership and is currently helping him maintain that position. She noted this is her third bill aimed at prohibiting the circulation of the paper. She blasted the paper’s owner, who isn’t an Israeli citizen and is meddling in Israeli internal opinion. She warned that Israel is on its way towards a banana republic. She warned that if Israel wishes to be a democratic society they must say no to the paper that is becoming a monopoly of press.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that it sees no reason to intervene in the private press. He suggested turning the bill into a motion to discuss which safeguards should be added, while maintaining the freedom of the press, speech and expression. MK Solodkin agreed.

Speaker Rivlin said it is dangerous for the Knesset to outlaw a newspaper or other media outlets and announced he would vote against the motion, despite government support.

The motion passed its preliminary reading 28-2 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss it further.

Amendment to the Planning and Construction Bill

MK Bielski (Kadima) explained that his amendment would change zoning to promote housing that will be affordable for young people. He stated that every city has land that it wants to release to the public to purchase but they can’t because the zoning isn’t residential. He said this bill will fix that and change their zoning to residential. He noted this would free up land within built-up neighborhoods without the need to build new schools or parks. He called his bill a supertanker. He wondered if the ministerial committee of legislative affairs works for the Mossad, because he can never find out who voted what.

Speaker Rivlin asked Bielski to pull his bill and not vote on it and he will talk to the ministers about his logical bill. Bielski and Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) agreed.

Amendment to the New Shekel Currency Bill

MK Whbee explained his amendment would force all prices to be rounded to an amount that is no less than 10 agurot. He blasted the current situation that rounds the agurot up or down, because people end up losing money over prices that don’t exist. He noted that the agurot were cancelled, but they still take the agura from you when they charge you 9.99.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the agurot are there digitally, and only when a person pays in cash does he not receive his agurot. He added that the current system of rounding up or down for those who pay in cash is fair.

The bill was defeated 26-40.

Amendment to the Annual Leave Bill/Motion

MK Sarsur (R.T.) explained his amendment would allow the receipt of free leave from work for Arabs who choose to observe the Haj and Omar pilgrimages. He noted that these pilgrimages are a once in a lifetime deal so there is no reason to oppose it.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon opposed the bill on the grounds that currently people can take vacation days for that purpose. He suggested turning the bill into a motion to discuss potential cases where an employee would not have enough vacation days.

The motion passed 36-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Two Amendments to the Arrangements Bill

MK Eldad (N.U.) explained that his amendment would grant a reduction in municipal taxes for a disabled person who lives with his parents. He called the current situation absurd that disabled people who can’t live on their own and are living with their parents are not entitled to a reduction in municipal taxes while those who live alone do receive a reduction.

MK Oron (Meretz) explained his similar bill is important and must be passed. He called the current situation unacceptable. He noted that the parents receive a reduction in municipal taxes for their disabled child until he is 18 but are being asked to give up either him or the discount when he turns 18. He announced that this would be his last bill and he would retire at the end of the week.

Both bills were pulled and will be voted on at a different time.

Amendment to the National Insurance Bill

MK Ezra (Kadima) explained his amendment would recognize work as a youth group counselor after one’s army service as a preferred job. He noted the counselors would receive tax reductions and benefits and receive incentive packages from the government. He blasted the current preferred job program of gas station clerks and hotel workers.

Minister Eitan expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 35-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss it further.

Amendment to the Protection of Animal Welfare Bill

MK Cabel (Labor) explained his amendment would place a prohibition on removing animals’ nails for all reasons other than health needs. He blasted those who declaw for domestic purposes, particularly cats. He stated that those who can’t deal with animals in their true nature should not have them as pets. He stressed that animals have feelings and it is wrong to declaw them, because it hurts them and they can’t protect themselves afterwards, if needed.

MK Zeev (Shas) blasted the bill on the grounds that it will take away from the veterinarians a significant part of their salary. He stressed if the animal is asleep it won’t hurt it. He slammed Cabel for asking for a three-year jail sentence for those who violate the bill. He asked Cabel if he lost his head.

Agriculture Minister Noked (Independence) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 19-0 with MK Zeev abstaining and was sent to the Health Committee.

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