Last Tuesday’s session lasted about five hours. Two bills were discussed, and both were advanced after passing their first readings. The bills would offer financial compensation to those who relocated a business as a result of the disengagement and require police officers to wear identifying badges while dispersing demonstrations. For the second straight day the MKs used the legislative discussion to present their views on the arrest of Rabbi Lior.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • 19 MKs gave speeches during the One Minute Speech segment that opened the session.
  • A motion on Blue and White Day was presented with speeches from Speaker Rivlin, Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) and seven MKs. The motion promotes buying products made in Israel. The motion was not voted on.
  • 13 MKs asked Industry and Trade Minister Simhon queries during his question hour.
  • A motion on the security prisoners’ strike in prison was discussed by five MKs and Minister Eitan. It was not voted on.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Disengagement Plan Implementation Bill

MK Elkin (Likud) explained his amendment would offer financial compensation and present extra funds to help the businesses that relocated their operations as a result of the disengagement. He explained the extra funds are meant to make up for the relocation costs as well as the higher cost of maintaining a business outside of Gaza and northern Samaria.

The bill passed its first reading 9-0 and was sent the Funds Committee.

Amendment to the Police Ordinance Bill

MK Ariel (N.U.) explained his amendment would require every police officer to wear the mandatory identifying badge that includes his name, rank and serial number while dispersing a demonstration. He said that the current law already requires officers to do so at all times but they decide to remove it while dispersing demonstrations to avoid criminal proceedings against them. He noted that viewers of Israeli news noticed most of the policemen responding to the Rabbi Lior arrest riots were not wearing their badges. He noted on Youtube there are many videos where demonstrators ask policemen to identify themselves and they refuse. He said the bill exempts undercover policemen and detectives from wearing the badges if they are not in uniform. He went on to say that the police are not responsible for Rabbi Lior’s arrest; rather, Shai Nitzan is. He said that if the State wanted to they could prosecute Lior and there was no reason to arrest him for the investigation.

MK Molla (Kadima) said as long as the balance between the police’s needs and the citizens’ rights is met he will support the bill. He said the conservatives have gone too far criticizing Lior’s arrest and told them the law is not selective and applies to everyone. He was heckled by the religious MKs in the room for defending Shai Nitzan and criticizing the attempts to delegitimize him. He concluded by stressing that everyone is equal under the law.

MK Khenin (Hadash) said that everyone is equal under the law and supported MK Molla’s speech. He slammed the conservative parties for defending Rabbi Lior. He went on to support the bill and criticize the police for using brutality during protests. He said there is no need for undercover officers in demonstrations since it leads to police brutality.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) said rabbis are not above the law and they aren’t even equal in the law’s eyes; rather, they are always attacked while the secular leftist academics remain above the law. MK Molla asked for specific cases. Eichler responded with an example about Professor Sternhell, who called on the Palestinians to murder settlers in Judea and Samaria and was awarded the Israel Nobel Prize. He noted there are several professors who delegitimize Israel and call for a boycott on Israeli universities. He supported the bill but slammed the provision that allows highly ranked officers to exempt policemen from wearing the badges in certain circumstances. He called for strengthening the bill. He said there was a case of police brutality this afternoon on an Ultra Orthodox man who cut in line at the Jerusalem central bus station and was beaten to a bloody pulp. He said there is a list of dozens of people who wish to testify in this case and of course the police have not responded to the case. He said the media incites against the religious and they should be the ones arrested, not Rabbi Lior.

MK Zeev (Shas) said that democratic countries that have undercover officers in demonstrations remind him of the recent protests in Egypt and Syria and said democracies don’t do such things. He recalled police brutality he witnessed in Nitzanim and Amona on children. He said undercover officers think it is Purim since they are wearing a mask and will never get in trouble for anything they do. He said we are not talking about undercover officers in drug rings we are talking about undercover officers in demonstrations. He joined Khenin and Eichler with calls to strengthen the bill.

Minister Eitan expressed government support for the bill. He said that undercover officers in demonstrations are needed for intelligence purposes but they shouldn’t be used to disperse demonstrations. He agreed that officers who wear name tags are more likely to think twice before using excessive violence and in the event a citizen is attacked he has the right to know who his attacker is. He concluded by defending the investigation of Rabbi Lior, adding that it was not done to degrade him as MK Ariel charged.

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

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