The second Monday session of the winter season lasted less than five hours. 17 bills were discussed. Eight bills became law after passing their third readings, and nine bills were advanced after passing their first readings. The government defeated two no-confidence motions.

The headlines of the day were a new law that will enable soldiers to receive their first year of college free in Jerusalem and a bill that will prevent the scheduled increase of the women’s retirement age to 67.

Non-Bills Summary:

* Speaker Rivlin gave a speech marking 67 years since the execution of Hannah Senesh and her friends.

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘Netanyahu’s refusal to respond to demand of a new social budget submission for 2012’ was defeated 37-54 with 29 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The government is punishing Israeli society through expansion of settlements, trampling of the social protests and wanton policy management’ was defeated 33-57 with 30 MKs not present.

* Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman Rotem explained his committee found a technical error in a bill and asked the Knesset to fix it. It was approved 14-0.

* House Committee Chairman Levin announced that MK Braverman (Labor) will replace MK Yacimovich (Labor) in the Funds Committee.

* The Knesset applied a continuity clause to bring back a bill that was not finished from the previous term by a 7-0 vote.

Bills Summary

Temporary Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill

Funds Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) explained the amendment would remove certain tax breaks for short term foreign investors, especially in bond trading and certain fund markets. Gafni added Israel is looking for long term investors and will not allow short term investors to make a quick buck in Israel thanks to a few legal loopholes. Gafni concluded that the situation will be reexamined after two years and if this amendment is not extended after two years the tax breaks will go back into effect.

The bill passed its second reading 49-0.

The bill passed its third reading 34-0.

Amendment to the Execution Bill

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) explained that the amendment would increase the authority of government repossession registrars and allow them to access other government databases in order to learn more about the citizen from whom they are authorized to collect.

The bill passed its second reading 29-1 with MK Ilatov (Y.B.) announcing he opposed the bill by mistake.

The bill passed its third reading 30-0.

Amendment to the Collection Center Fines, Fees and Expenses Bill

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman Rotem explained the amendment would increase sanctions on citizens who haven’t paid court ordered fines of over NIS 5,000 for over a year. He said among the new sanctions would be revoking their passport, prohibiting them from leaving the country, revoking their drivers license and more.

The bill passed its second reading 26-1.

The bill passed its third reading 23-0.

Amendment to the Israel Antiquities Authority Bill

Culture and Sport Minister Livnat (Likud) announced the amendment would allow more people to qualify for serving on the 16-member Israel Antiquities Committee Board and as chairman of the committee. She said that the current law qualifies only three of the Israel Antiquities Society members to serve as chairman and this mafia style law must be amended to allow other candidates to qualify.

MK Schneller (Kadima) called the Israel Antiquities Authority one of the most important authorities in Israel and expressed his support for the bill.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) quoted a study that only ten of the 220 professors in Israel’s universities are Sephardic Jews. He said that all elitist entities should show some diversity and expressed his support for the bill.
MK Khenin (Hadash) expressed his support for Speaker Rivlin’s position of delaying the vote on controversial bills for a week to allow the Arab MKs to celebrate their holiday and not require them to come into work to vote. He slammed Kadima, Labor and Meretz for inciting against the Speaker and for ignoring the importance of Arab holidays. He went on to charge that this bill is politically motivated. He slammed the bill for including historians in the qualifications for serving in the committee and said the committee is a place for archeologists only.

The bill passed its first reading 30-1 and was sent to the Culture Committee.

Amendment to the Consumer Protection Bill

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) explained the amendment would raise first time fines on businesses for violations of the Consumer Protection Bill to between NIS 25,000-50,000 as well as additional sanctions.

The bill passed its first reading 24-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Employment Services Bill

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon explained his amendment would merge the authority of the defunct position of Labor Minister into the authority of the Industry and Trade Minister. He added the amendment would update the regulations on the Employment Service Council that advises the minister on certain issues.

The bill passed its first reading 18-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Temporary Order Amendment to the Social Security Bill

Social Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) explained that this amendment is a pilot program in two locations that would have a nurse assigned to elderly people over 80 years old for doctor checkups. He expressed hope that the nurses would fight for the elderly people’s rights.

MK Khenin praised Kahlon and said that the Social Welfare Minister is working hard for the elderly and for holocaust survivors.

MK Zeev (Shas) praised Kahlon and said this bill reflects Torah values.
The bill passed its first reading 17-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

Amendment to the Prison Ordinance Bill

Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch explained the employment of prisoners is an important part of keeping prisoners focused on their rehabilitation. He said this amendment will regulate the employment of prisoners and hopefully will lead to an increase of prisoners who work during their imprisonment.

MK Khenin praised Aharonovitch and the bill. He called on the minister to examine implementing certain private bills that he has proposed in the past into this bill.

MK Ben Ari praised the bill but criticized that the prisoners make somewhere between NIS 7 to 9 a day. He noted certain prisoners are not eligible for employment and that should be changed. He added that even in Sudan child laborers earn at least two dollars a day.

MK Bielski (Kadima) expressed support for the bill. He slammed Bet Shemesh for passing a city ordinance that prohibits hiring former convicts to work within Bet Shemesh city limits and called on Aharonovitch to overturn it.

The bill passed its first reading 18-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Security Service Bill

Transportation Minister Katz explained the amendment would enable the army to draft someone for a month before allowing him to see a doctor that can release him from service. He added the amendment will prohibit counting time a soldier spends in jail or AWOL as part of his mandatory service.

The bill passed its first reading 16-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee should discuss the bill further.

Amendment to the Local Authorities Elections Bill

MK Ezra (Kadima) explained the amendment would require the ballot officer to approve a voter being accompanied by another person as a result of an illness or disability. He stated the current situation of allowing anybody to bring another person with them into the ballot box results in voter intimidation.

The bill passed its first reading 15-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance Bill

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman Rotem explained the amendment would increase the punishment of a hit and run to 14 years in jail.

MK Bielski asked the Knesset to support his bill and said it is time to send a message to those who hit and run that it is unacceptable.

MK Matalon (Y.B.) asked the Knesset to support his bill, which was merged with Bielski’s bill, and hoped this would put an end to hit and runs.

The bill passed its second reading 19-0.

The bill passed its third reading 20-0.

Amendment to the Knesset Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) explained the amendment would allow the House Committee to determine if a suspended MK should be receiving his MK salary or not.

The bill passed its second reading 12-0.

The bill passed its third reading 12-0.

Amendment to the Ports Ordinance Bill

Funds Committee Chairman Gafni explained the amendment would limit the personal liability of custom agents in seaports and increase their authority.

The bill passed its second reading 15-0.

The bill passed its third reading 15-0.

MK Levin thanked the Knesset for approving his bill into law.

Amendment to the Corporate Fund Managers and Portfolio Managers Bill

Funds Committee Chairman Gafni explained the amendment will increase the supervision over corporate fund managers and portfolio managers who have over 50 clients or a combined investment of over NIS 5 billion.

The bill passed its second reading 13-0.

The bill passed its third reading 13-0.

Amendment to the Retirement Age Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) explained his amendment would cancel the gradual increase of the female retirement age to 67. He stressed that the female retirement age should stay at 62 and that there is no reason to increase it to match the male retirement age.

MK Gilon (Meretz) expressed support for Katz and the bill. His phone started ringing while he was on the podium and he needed a Knesset guard’s assistance to shut it off.

MK Elkin (Likud) praised the bill. He noted that he tried to pass this bill last term when he was a Kadima MK but former Finance Minister Hirchson (Kadima) refused to support it.

The bill passed its first reading 13-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Temporary Provision Amendment to the Telecommunications Bill

Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) stated that Israel has four regular news broadcasts on Channels 1, 2, 10 and 99. He explained that there have been local news broadcasts on cable and satellite as part of a temporary program and this amendment will extend that program’s funding for another year.

The bill passed its first reading 12-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Jerusalem Development Authority Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the amendment would present veterans who study in Jerusalem with a NIS 9,500 grant that should cover their first year of college tuition. He added that Hebrew University will not be included under the bill. He noted that the bill covers any soldier who finished his service from 2010 and later.

The bill passed its second reading 13-0.

The bill passed its third reading 15-0.

Deputy Minister Gamliel thanked the Knesset for approving her bill. She recalled her previous bill that extended the same benefits to students in the Galil, Negev, Ashkelon, Judea and Samaria. She expressed hope that eventually all veterans will be eligible to receive their first year of college free.

MK Orlev (J.H.) thanked the Knesset for approving his bill, which was merged with Gamliel’s bill. He wished Gamliel, who is nine months pregnant, an easy birth.

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