The second Tuesday session of the winter season lasted about three and a half hours. Three bills were discussed and advanced after passing their first readings. They were pro-women bills, advanced on International Premature Birth Awareness Day. Like the previous Tuesday’s session, and most Tuesdays, the agenda was short and attendance was light.

Non-Bills Summary

* 18 MKs and Minister Livnat (Likud) participated in the one minute speech segment of the day. Most MKs used the speech to give their opinions on new legislation regarding the courts.

* Speaker Rivlin gave a speech on International Premature Birth Awareness Day. Seven MKs and Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) gave speeches on a motion honoring the day. It was approved for further discussion with a 12-0 vote.

* The Knesset fixed a technical error in the budget with a 10-0 vote.

* A motion on the Former Mossad chief’s words against the ultra-Orthodox was discussed by four MKs and Deputy Health Minister Litzman. It was approved for further discussion with a 6-0 vote.

* Deputy Health Minister Litzman answered three queries at the end of the session.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Employment of Women Bill

MK Levi-Abekasis (Y.B.) explained that her amendment would extend maternity leave for an additional month in cases where the newborn requires hospitalization for over a month after birth. She concluded that this bill was in the spirit of Premature Birth Awareness Day.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman asked for a delay in the vote in order to come to certain compromises with Levi-Abekasis. After delaying the vote for over an hour Litzman gave support for the bill later in the session.

The bill passed its first reading 11-0 and was sent to the Health Committee.

Amendments to the Guarantee of Payment Bill

MK Khenin (Hadash) explained that his amendment would repeal the bill that exempts men from paying child support or alimony for time the spouse or children spend abroad. He stressed it is unacceptable for a man to get out of paying his court ordered payments because his ex-wife and children no longer live in the country. He called the bill a social justice bill.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) expressed his support for the bill and stressed this bill is in line with Torah values.

MK Eldad (N.U.) expressed support for the bill. He stated the government is trying to break up homes in the physical sense in Judea and Samaria. He called on the government not to break up families or homes.

The bill passed its first reading and was sent to the Justice Committee.

MK Kirshenbaum (Y.B.) said her bill is identical to Khenin’s bill and she calls on the Knesset to approve it. She said the addition in her bill is that women who receive social security and other government benefits will now be eligible to receive those benefits abroad. She said that over 20,000 women in Israel do not receive child support and some need to seek employment elsewhere to feed their children. She noted the bill only covers those receiving less than NIS 5,013 monthly from the government.

MK Eichler used his time to eulogize a rabbi who passed away earlier that day.

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