The Tuesday session lasted about three and a half hours. Four bills were discussed and advanced after passing their first readings. A bill that would provide airline passengers financial compensation for flight cancellations and delays was advanced. Bills that provide entitlements to abused women in shelters, extend the period of time women can press charges for sexual harassment and unite the political parties’ financial reports into one document were advanced as well. The two motions of the day were not voted on.

Non-Bills Summary

* 23 MKs spoke during the one minute speech segment that opened the day. The main topic of discussion was the advancement of two contested bills the night before.

* A motion on the contribution of evangelical Christian organizations to refugees and survivors of the Holocaust was discussed by Speaker Rivlin, 4 MKs and Deputy Minister Nass (Likud).

* A motion on the international Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was discussed by Culture and Sport Minister Livnat (Likud), Deputy Speaker Molla (Kadima) and 8 MKs.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Sexual Harassment Prevention Bill

MK Hotovely (Likud) stated that since the original bill was passed in 1998 women have been given protection from sexual harassment. She slammed those who wish to pardon former President Katsav, who was convicted of rape. She explained the amendment would extend the statute of limitations for a woman to file a complaint of sexual harassment from three years to four years.

Culture and Sport Minster Livnat (Likud) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its first reading 9-0 and was sent to the Women’s Rights Committee.

Amendment to the Income Support Bill

MK Khenin (Hadash) thanked MK Gal-On for co-sponsoring the bill with him. He revealed that 17 Israeli women have been killed by their husbands over the past year. He added that so far in 2011 12,260 case files have been opened in Israel on domestic abuse. He stated that 200,000 women are beaten by their husbands in Israel. He explained his amendment would provide an entitlement benefit for women during their stay in a battered women’s shelter. He said this bill is a socialist bill that takes care of Israel’s neglected beaten women.

MK Gal-On (Meretz) thanked Khenin for presenting the bill and WIZO for writing the bill for them. She said that this entitlement of NIS 1,632 is just the first step and with more pressure on the government she hopes to increase that amount. She expressed hope that this bill will give women the courage to leave their husbands. She slammed the finance ministry for claiming the bill will cost NIS 3.5 million annually and said that is why women must stay in the shelter for a whole month in order to be eligible for the entitlement.

MK Tibi (R.T.) praised the bill and suggested prohibiting guns in Israel in order to prevent husbands from killing their wives.

Culture and Sport Minster Livnat expressed government support for the bill. She revealed that Netanyahu supports this bill and he will take care of the finance ministry’s opposition to it.

MK Whbee (Kadima) recalled his visits to the shelters and the conversations he has had with the women there. He called for funding more shelters in order to avoid overcrowding. He noted that the city councils are funding the shelters and the government is only supplementing them.

MK Bielski (Kadima) revealed that between 700 and 800 women a year and about 1,000 children leave their homes for 14-15 shelters spread out across Israel. He said the men should be in the shelters locked up and the women should be at home with the kids.

MK Zeev (Shas) supported the bill but said that women need to be encouraged to leave the shelter at a certain point. He wondered if an entitlement would overcrowd the shelters and give women incentive to stay in the shelter longer than they need. He said the focus should be on rehabilitation and not on the entitlement. He said that men who are beaten by their wives have no rights and that is a problem that should be solved soon. He added that even if the husband beats his wife he should be able to see his children and get visiting rights.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) praised the bill and told stories from his visits to the shelters.

MK Wilf (Independence) said that we should put an end to women who are discriminated against because of religious and traditionalist people. She said that if men can’t be around women they should stay at home. She went on slamming the Orthodox and their prohibitions of women, as well as the prohibitions on touch, singing and so on.

The bill passed its first reading 14-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

 

Amendment to the Party Funding Bill

MK Maklev (U.T.J.) stated that the political parties are forced by law to release their finances to the State Comptroller, the Speaker of the House and the political parties’ registry. He explained the amendment would report the parties’ accounts to all three in the same document on the same date. He said that all three recipients of the document support the bill. He added that if elections fall within the period of time the document is supposed to be released the due date of the document will be automatically postponed until after the elections.

MK Ben Ari criticized Knesset Channel 99 for never inviting him to an interview. He noted that he cancelled his newspaper subscription to Ha’aretz this week because the paper has moved further towards the slanted extreme left in the last few weeks.

The bill passed its first reading 8-0 and was sent to the House Committee.

Amendment to the Aviation Services Bill

MK Tibi explained his amendment would present airline customers compensation and assistance for flight cancellations or a change in conditions that causes a delay. He said that this is the most talked about bill in the Knesset and it is the most popular bill he has ever written. He said the compensation will be NIS 1,250 for flights less than 2,000 kilometers; NIS 2,000 for flights between 2,000 and 4,500 kilometers; and NIS 3,000 for flights over 4,500 kilometers. He said that downgrading a passenger’s ticket will result in a 50%, 75% or 100% compensation of the ticket price depending on in which one of the three groups from above the passenger falls. He said that during delays the airline must provide passengers with drinks, a sandwich, one free fax, access to emails and two free phone calls. He said the bill also prohibits overbooking flights or postponing flights for no logical reason. He concluded that the purpose of the bill is to defend passengers from the bullying airline companies. He slammed former Finance Committee Chairman Akunis (Likud) for holding the bill in committee for two years.

MK Maklev praised and supported the bill. He stated this is a great consumer protection bill. He called on exempting from the bill airlines that don’t fly on the Jewish Sabbath in order not to place a penalty on those airlines and force them to fly on the Sabbath.

The bill passed its first reading 8-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

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