Last Monday’s session lasted about six hours. Eight bills were discussed, although over half of the session was spent discussing four no-confidence motions that were ultimately defeated. Four bills became law after passing their third readings, and another four were advanced after passing their first readings. The government request to extend the ban on Palestinians who wish to receive Israeli citizenship as part of the family reunification clause to the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Bill was approved. One of the bills advanced seeks to create an Israeli Ethiopian television channel despite Ethiopian MK Molla’s protests.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The Netanyahu government’s failure in the economic sector causes price increases in all sectors of the economy’ was defeated 37-52 with 31 MKs not present.
  • Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘Destroying the social fabric and deliberately deepening the gaps and distortions in housing, health and education, as well as damaging Israel’s democracy’ was defeated 39-53 with 28 MKs not present.
  • Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The national housing shortage, including the Arab sector’ was defeated 18-53 with 9 MKs abstaining and 40 MKs not present.
  • National Union’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The freeze policy in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria is dragging the country into a severe housing crisis’ was defeated 8-54 with 13 MKs abstaining and 45 MKs not present.
  • Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) presented the government’s request to extend a temporary provision order that prohibits Palestinians that marry Israelis from receiving Israeli citizenship under the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Bill. 18 MKs, mostly from the opposition, gave speeches on the extension that has been systematically renewed since 2003. It was approved 34-10.
  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced MK Bar-On (Kadima) will replace MK Solodkin (Kadima) in the State Comptroller Committee and MK Majadele (Labor) will serve as a permanent substitute in the Finance Committee instead of MK Tibi (Ra’am-Ta’al).
  • Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) presented his committee’s request to split a bill into two. It was approved 15-0.
  • Funds Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) presented his committee’s request to split a bill into two. It was approved 15-0.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Hostility Victims Compensation Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) explained this bill was placed on the desk of his committee 12 days ago. He boasted that since then he has brought it to a first reading and now for its second and third readings. He said that it is even more impressive to be able to accomplish the feat with the clock towards the summer recess ticking down. He confessed he doesn’t usually wear a white shirt but has chosen to do so in honor of the bill. He stated the bill will give welfare entitlements to orphans whose parents were murdered in terrorist attacks. He said that the current system gives the life entitlement of NIS 5,050 a month to the spouse of a person who was murdered in a terrorist attack, but it doesn’t cover the children if both parents are murdered. He stressed this bill will give these orphans that 5,050 NIS a month for life.

The bill passed its second reading 64-0.

The bill passed its third reading 62-0.

MK Orlev (J.H.) said the country today righted a wrong for about 80 orphans from about 25 families that were robbed the money they deserved. He said he was very proud to sponsor this bill.

MK Itzik (Kadima) thanked her co-sponsor and apologized in the name of the country to the orphans who were sitting in the gallery. She screamed at Orlev for speaking loudly and disturbing her speech. She thanked Netanyahu for approving the bill despite its cost.

Amendment to the Pharmacists Ordinance Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the amendment would extend the time a pharmaceutical company may keep the recipe of their new medications a secret to six or six and a half years depending on the type of drug. He noted that generic drugs take away a lot of money from pharmaceutical companies which discourage them from inventing new drugs, including drugs that can save lives. He said that by protecting the companies for six years the big companies will keep investing their money in research and development of drugs and the generic companies will no longer be able to piggyback on the larger companies.

The bill passed its second reading 28-0.

The bill passed its third reading 31-0.

Amendment to the National Insurance Bill

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) explained his amendment would grant senior citizens who signed up late for their welfare entitlement three years worth of their entitlement retroactively. He said that many poor people and new immigrants are not aware that they must sign up to receive their entitlements and sometimes they end up going through the proper paperwork only years later after they realized the money wasn’t coming.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) praised the socialist bill. He went on to blast the capitalistic government for ignoring the housing tent protesters. He stated he fully supports the protesters and expressed hope that they overthrow the government. He slammed Netanyahu for taking Menachem Begin’s socialism of the Likud and turning it into a disgusting capitalistic party.

MK Rotem (Y.B.) said he has two problems with the bill. He said the first is that the bill should determine that a citizen receives social security automatically because it is money that a citizen deserves. He didn’t mention his second problem.

The bill passed its first reading 25-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

Amendment to the National Insurance Bill

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon explained the amendment would even the qualifying period for employees working weekly and monthly so that they receive an equal number of vacation days. He said the current situation is that a worker who receives a weekly wage needs to work for 300 days to qualify for vacation days compared to a worker who receives a monthly wage who needs to work 360 days to qualify. He said this is yet another injustice that he has discovered and he is proud to correct it.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) expressed his support for the bill. He said that he feels the housing crisis needs to be solved and that communism isn’t the answer. He slammed the protesters for wanting to live in Tel Aviv for cheap and told them to go live somewhere else.

The bill passed its first reading 25-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

Amendment to the Communications Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) explained the amendment would require the government to fund an Amharic Ethiopian language channel on cable and satellite television. He slammed Ethiopian MK Molla (Kadima) for opposing the bill. Levin confessed the bill isn’t perfect because it wouldn’t be a free broadcast channel but said it is better than nothing. He thanked the Chief Ethiopian Rabbi for supporting the bill. MK Adatto (Kadima) accused Levin of pretending to care about Ethiopians. Levin screamed at Adatto and said he is proud to represent all Israelis, native and immigrants, Russians and Ethiopians. Deputy Speaker Vaknin (Shas) had to calm both sides down as they got into a screaming match, which Molla joined. Levin charged that Molla is against the bill because it is a coalition bill and he isn’t a co-sponsor.

MK Yoel Hasson said that if an Ethiopian MK is against the bill then it must be a bad bill and he will vote against it. He added that if Ethiopians have money for cable they probably don’t need the channel.

MK Molla (Kadima) said that he disagrees with Adatto and believes that Levin and co-sponsor MK Pinyan (Likud) have good intentions. He said that only 16,000 of the 40,000 Ethiopian families in Israel have cable and satellite. He said that an Ethiopian cable channel will not help the absorption process because over half of Ethiopians won’t be able to watch it and that is the half that need the channel. He said he will vote against any bill that doesn’t include a free public broadcast option. He said that this bill is abandoning 24,000 Ethiopian families.

MK Zeev (Shas) said he supports the 116,000 Ethiopians in Israel. Molla interrupted and said there are 130,000. Zeev asked Molla why there can be a Russian channel on cable but an Ethiopian channel is problematic. He slammed the Arab MKs for slamming the State of Israel on a daily basis on public Arab television channels and called on the government to reform it.

Communication Minister Kahlon said he couldn’t sit silently and listen to Molla’s lies. He said that the budget for the channel would be NIS 4.5 million and the Ethiopian channel would eventually be added to the DTT program, which provides many channels for a one-time payment of NIS 250. He slammed Molla, who kept heckling him, and told Molla that he is not updated on the information and he has turned this discussion personal.

The bill passed its first reading 20-3 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Preventing Violence in Health Care Facilities Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained his original bill would keep mental patients who consistently physically or verbally attack asylum or hospital personnel out of that particular asylum or hospital. He added that the bill will also do the same to mental patients who destroy health care facility property.

The bill passed its second reading 17-0.

The bill passed its third reading 14-0.

Amendment to the Banking Bill

Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) explained his amendment would force banks to sell their customers checks that have two stripes and say “to the payee only” unless otherwise specifically asked by the customer. He stated the reasoning for this is to prevent checks from changing hands many times and eventually not being able to be cashed causing someone to lose money.

The bill passed its second reading 15-0.

The bill passed its third reading 15-0.

Amendment to the National Insurance Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the amendment would increase the income someone can earn and still be eligible for Holocaust survivor compensation entitlement benefits. He said that 20% of Holocaust survivors today are over 90 years old. He said they are being punished by not receiving certain benefits because they actually accomplished to rehabilitate their lives and are now not eligible for certain benefits. He said the Holocaust survivors paid a heavy price and the country was built because of them and thanks to them. He said every day another thirty Holocaust survivors die. He said about 80% are over the age of 80. He thanked Minister Peled (Likud) for fighting hard for this bill and promised him this bill will pass in its third reading before the Knesset goes into recess. He said this will show Israel’s compassion for the survivors.

MK Adatto (Kadima) said it is an embarrassment that the Knesset hasn’t passed this bill already. She said she is proud to co-sponsor the bill and thanked Chairman Katz for advancing it.

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

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