The June 22 session lasted about seven and a half hours. Twelve bills were discussed. Five bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, four were defeated, two were pulled to avoid defeat and one was turned into a motion. The highlight of the day was the advancing of two bills that would allow single mothers to collect welfare while they are abroad. Bills on giving Rabbis immunity and providing public transportation on the Sabbath were both defeated.

Non-Bills Summary

  • Home front Security Minister Vilnai (Independence) and National Infrastructure Minister Landau (Y.B.) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.
  • National Infrastructure Minister Landau answered two more queries in the middle of the session.
  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced which disputed bills would go to which committees. His announcement was approved by a 9-0 vote.
  • Seven motions were discussed on various topics, and five of those motions were sent to committee for further discussion by the votes 14-0, 11-0, 8-0, 5-0 and 4-0. One motion was defeated by a vote of 3-4, and the other was not voted on.

 

Bills Summary

Two amendments to the Execution Bill

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) explained his amendment would prohibit the State from taking away a blind person’s state-funded animal escort even if they don’t pay their taxes. He stated that the blind shouldn’t have to work and the government should pay for all of their expenses and said he hoped this bill would be the first of many steps in that direction.

MK Khenin (Hadash) complained that the blind in Israel live a tough life and his similar amendment is a small step in correcting the many wrongs the government has caused the blind over the years. He noted that most of the blind in Israel do not work, live off of welfare and are very poor.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for both bills.

The first bill passed its preliminary reading 29-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

The second bill passed its preliminary reading 29-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Two amendments to the Welfare Bill

MK Kirshenbaum (Y.B.) stated her bill is a socialist bill. She announced that there are over 20,000 single mothers who earn less than NIS 5,000 per month and receive a NIS 2,672 welfare payment from the government. She stated that her amendment would remove the conditions on those payments that require women to forfeit their welfare benefit during visits abroad or all payments if they travel out of the country more than once a year. She said that last year 1,500 single mothers were forced to give up their welfare payments because of extended time overseas and her bill will correct that. She concluded by estimating the bill’s cost at NIS 3 million per year.

MK Khenin explained his similar amendment would correct the wrong that women don’t receive welfare payments because they are abroad.

Speaker Rivlin announced the government does not have an official position on the bill.

The first bill passed its preliminary reading 48-2 and was sent to the House Committee to decide which committee will discuss the bill further.

The second bill passed its preliminary reading 51-2 and was sent to the House Committee to decide which committee will discuss the bill further.

Obligation of Replacing the Employer Term “Mavid” to “Masik” Bill

MK Shai (Kadima) explained his amendment would change the Hebrew term used for employer to a more politically correct word in Hebrew in order to move away from using a word that also refers to slave ownership. He noted there are 900,000 words in the English language compared to 300,000 in Hebrew, but in this case there are two words for employer in Hebrew and only one in English.

MK Yacimovich (Labor) objected to the bill saying that employers in Israel are slave owners and gave a long campaign speech obviously aimed at Labor party primary voters. She slammed employers who don’t know when their workers are sick, giving birth or having a birthday. She said that changing the language won’t change the truth that employees are treated like slaves.

MK Shai confessed he didn’t know that the bill would be brought to the Knesset in the middle of a primary for Labor party chairmanship. He said he wouldn’t respond to Yacimovich.

Speaker Rivlin announced the government does not have an official position on the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 46-2 with one MK abstaining and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Rabbi Immunity Bill

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) quoted the Justice Minister in a speech to Tel Aviv University from two years ago in which he supported Rabbis receiving judicial immunity when it comes to religious matters. He asked Neeman to support his bill that would give Rabbis that very immunity in law. He criticized the current double standard where artists and cultured academics are given freedom of expression but Rabbis are not and are arrested.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that no one is above the law.

MK Ben Ari slammed Neeman for ignoring his speech and his bill.

The bill was defeated 5-41.

Local Councils Ordinance Bill

MK Naffaa (Balad) explained his amendment would require the Interior Minister to consult with the Assurance Director before he removes a mayor or city councilman from office.

Religious Affairs Minister Margi (Shas) explained that, although it isn’t protected by law, the Interior Minister consults with the Assurance Director before taking actions and, therefore, there is no reason to pass the bill.

Naffaa pulled his bill to avoid defeat.

Motion/Amendment to the Rights of Victims of Crime Bill

MK Bielski (Kadima) explained his amendment would give a traffic accident victim’s family the right to oppose a plea bargain with the defendant. He told a personal story of a girl he knows who is in a vegetative state and the one who did it to her received a sentence of a NIS 1,000 fine and 10 hours of community service.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the way the bill is written won’t work within the current system. He stated he is willing to accomplish what Bielski wants and to help him draft a new bill but he can’t support the bill the way it is written. He suggested in the meantime turning the bill into a motion.

MK Bielski agreed.

The motion passed 36-2 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance Bill

MK Tiviaev (Kadima) explained his amendment would require the mandatory installation of audio alert sensors when cars are in reverse. He said this is a matter of life and death and called on the government to support the bill.

Communications Minister Kahlon (Likud) explained that Israel follows the European standards, which do not require those sensors as a mandatory measure, and, therefore, the government is against the bill.

MK Tiviaev said he is tired of the government blaming everything on European standards, noting there is no European standard for having at least 30 ministers in the government.

The bill was defeated 20-23.

Amendment to the Income Support Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained her amendment would increase the salary one can earn and still be eligible for an entitlement. She slammed the government for systematically opposing her socialist bills. She warned that the people might overthrow the government like the other Middle East governments for ignoring their citizens’ needs.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon said that there is a lot of logic in the bill but the cost of NIS 320 million is not something the government can support. He stated that baby steps are needed and the first will be for single mothers.

MK Solodkin said she doesn’t believe the government and is sick of all the lies.

The bill was defeated 26-36.

Running Public Transport on the Weekly Day of Rest Bill

MK Horowitz (Meretz) explained there is public transportation in Haifa on the Sabbath and it works well. He stated his bill would require all cities to run public transportation on the Sabbath. He slammed the status quo and the religious parties that prohibit public transportation on the Sabbath in most places. He said he is proud that he drives on the Sabbath.

Communications Minister Kahlon said hurting the religious citizens’ rights and harming the status quo is unacceptable and the government is against the bill.

MK Horowitz said most of Israel doesn’t keep the Sabbath and the government can’t present a real reform in public transportation if it doesn’t include weekend travel.

The bill was defeated 7-36.

Youth Care and Supervision Bill

MK Molla (Kadima) explained his amendment would require the State to appoint a lawyer in charge of minors in cases of child custody. He said this way the children get a say in where they go. He agreed to pull the bill in order to avoid defeat.

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