The Monday session lasted about six hours, and eleven bills were discussed. Six bills were advanced after passing their first readings, and five bills became law after passing their third readings. The highlight bill of the day was the new animal rights law that will send to prison for an entire year anyone who declaws a cat. Other new laws exempt most 18-21 year olds from paying social security, extend the local cable news broadcasts for another year, expand the information you can receive about a used car and allow the President to provide awards to whistleblowers.

Non-Bills Summary

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘the failure of the Netanyahu government in the political, economic and social sectors’ was defeated 41-55 with 24 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘the government’s inability and lack of preparation for a slowdown in the world markets and that layoffs are expected in the Israeli economy’ was defeated 39-57 with 24 MKs not present.

* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘the issue of planning and building in the Arab sector’ was defeated 34-58 with 28 MKs not present.

* House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) reported which disputed bills will be discussed in which committees.

* Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) answered seven queries at the end of the session.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) explained that the amendment exempts soldiers, national service participants and pre-military schooled citizens from paying social security between the ages of 18-21.

The bill passed its second reading 44-0.

The bill passed its third reading 40-0.

MK Orlev (J.H.) thanked the MKs who supported his bill.

Amendment to the Encourage Public Service Integrity Bill

State Comptroller Committee Chairman Bar-On (Kadima) explained that the amendment would encourage corruption whistleblowers in the private sector by having the president present annual awards for whistle blowing.

The bill passed its second reading 31-0.

The bill passed its third reading 28-0.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) thanked the MKs for supporting his bill and his successor in committee Bar-On for fast tracking the bill.

Amendment to the Illegal Residence Bill

Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) explained the amendment turns into law a group of temporary provisions from 1996 that have been extended time and time again effective March 31, 2012. He said the bill prohibits Israelis from assisting illegals from Judea, Samaria and Gaza in three areas: housing, employment and transportation. He said these temporary measures have been an effective measure in the war on terror and should be protected within permanent Israeli law.

MK Barakeh (Hadash) blasted the bill and said that Israel is occupying Judea, Samaria and Gaza therefore they should allow those residents to work in Israel freely without requiring them to ask for permission. He charged that the bill has nothing to do with security and everything to do with putting down the Arabs. He suggested that turning the temporary order into a permanent law means that Israel is changing the status of the area and doesn’t really recognize a Palestinian state.

MK Swaid (Hadash) criticized the bill and said it turns citizens into police detectives who need to check a person’s identification card before giving him a ride or sitting down with him for a cup of coffee. He said this bill is inhumane, undemocratic and enhances the occupation.

MK Khenin (Hadash) slammed the checkpoints for Arabs and cited Machsom Watch reports. He said that Israel repeatedly starts with temporary amendments, extends them time and time again and finally turns them into law when the time is right. He called on Israel to leave the occupied territories.

MK Agbaria (Hadash) claimed this would prevent ambulances from taking illegals to a hospital out of fear of committing a crime. He called the bill racist.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) revealed that he was coming from the Salem Court that just sentenced the Fogel family murderer and said how much it bothered him the fine treatment the murderer received. He recalled sitting with Tel Aviv University students and having them realize that they are on conquered private land from 1947 and how they felt that it was different from him living on open land where no one lived before but is over the 1967 borders. He stated there is no difference and stressed that many Arab cities are split down the 1967 line and that proves that the line means nothing. He called on expanding the law so it includes all illegals, including the Sudanese.

MK Zeev (Shas) stated that most of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria work in the settlement industrial areas and not within the pre-1967 borders. He said that the number of workers that will be affected by this law is small and stressed it is an effective tool in fighting terror.

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) praised the bill. He recalled when 250,000 Arabs from Judea, Samaria and Gaza worked over the green line until the second intifada, which led to that number dropping significantly. He called on Arabs to reject terrorism and embrace economic partnerships.

MK Yoel Hasson praised the bill. He slammed the four Hadash MKs who oppose the bill. He asked why they want Arabs to cross the green line if they want a state on the other side of the green line. He called on a true physical separation between Palestinians and Israelis.

MK Zahalka (Balad) said that Israel is treating the Arabs like outsiders when in fact it is the Jews who are the outsiders. He lectured the Jewish MKs and told them that they can’t place a blockade on the air space and coastlines and build fences and checkpoints and then prevent the Arabs from crossing the green line. He demanded the Israeli government choose between taking responsibility for the Arabs and giving up their claim on the land. He said that it is the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes across the green line and walk around Israel as they please. He said it is their nation, not the Jews’ nation. He said that even with the two state solution the borders must be open and free so Arabs can live wherever they want.

MK Shai (Kadima) praised the bill. He said that every country must protect its borders and in the name of liberalism his center-left party supports this bill wholeheartedly. He said the bill is super-democratic.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) said this bill doesn’t protect Israel from terrorists; rather, it protects the occupation. He said Israel has no right to tell Arabs they cannot work, live or travel wherever they want. He called on Israel to end the occupation and called it terrorism.

MK Tibi (R.T.) slammed the Israeli liberal left who are supporting a bill against Palestinian workers. He said the bill is aimed at suffocating the Arab economy on both sides of the green line.

MK Ezra (Kadima) spoke of three terrorists who killed many Israelis and who would have been stopped if this bill had been in place before 1996.

The bill passed its first reading 37-6 and was sent to the Interior Committee. MK Tibi (R.T.) said that he voted for the bill by mistake and stressed that he meant to vote against.

Amendment to the Municipal Elections Bill

Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) explained his amendment would direct all appeals of municipal election petitions or charges to the administrative affairs court.

MK Sheetrit praised the bill. He recalled when he was Interior Minister that every little thing was sent straight to the Supreme Court because there was no clear court to hear the case. He added the clause that forces the court to decide within seven days will make the process even more effective.

The bill passed its first reading 20-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Jail Ordinance Bill

Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch explained that the amendment would disqualify certain prisoners from administrative release in cases of overcrowding. He stated the prisoners that would be disqualified are those who are restricted from early release during sentencing.

MK Khenin suggested expanding administrative releases instead of restricting them. He went on to lobby the government for one of his bills coming up next week.

MK Ben Ari charged that the motive behind the bill is budget related. The minister and a few MKs pointed out that the opposite is true and he should really read the bill.

MK Zeev revealed there are over 23,000 prisoners in Israel and about 2,500 prisoners are illegal immigrants who don’t have many rights under Israeli law. He supported the bill, but asked that early release be available for Israelis citizens.

MK Sheetrit supported the bill but complained that 1,000 prisoners under house arrest are not eligible for early release.

MK Eldad (N.U.) said he was convinced by the minister’s speech that it is a good bill but asked how it is that he supported 450 murderers being released early for Gilad Shalit.

MK Azoulay (Shas) said he is worried that this bill will slowly put an end to early release after serving two thirds of a sentence. He asked why, if we are above the allotted number of prisoners of 17,700, there haven’t been more administrative releases over the last four months.

MK Ezra called on expanding the early release program and noted when he was the minister during the previous term there were more early releases.

The bill passed its first reading 22-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Privacy Bill

Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch explained the amendment would include the internet and other technologies under the original bill. He added that it will expand the enforcement of the bill by allowing certain powers the authority to supervise and inspect cases where a government worker might be leaking someone’s private information.

MK Sheetrit supported the bill but reserved his opposition for a clause in the bill that would place a NIS 100,000 fine on someone who leaks the private information. He said the fine was excessive.

The bill passed its first reading 19-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill.

Amendment to the Payment of Pensions to Reserve Soldiers’ Families Bill

Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch explained the amendment would provide widows of fallen soldiers from before 1999 a one-time grant of NIS 100,000. He noted the bill will cost NIS 250 million.

MK Danon (Likud) revealed that his bill called for NIS 300,000 and it was hard for him to swallow the reduction to NIS 100,000. He called on the government not to lower it more in committee.

MK Wilf (Independence) told the widows that they were wronged by the government and that thanks to the MKs and faction managers the pressure on the government was so fierce they brought their own version of the bill. She agreed that it was watered down but stressed that the MKs and faction managers will fight so that the bill is fast tracked in committee and approved as soon as possible.

MK Sheetrit praised and supported the bill. He equated the importance of passing this bill with the biblical story of the sacrifice of Isaac.

MK Ariel (N.U.) revealed that he has been fighting for this bill for ten years. He wondered why the government was against this bill when he brought it up last week but is for it this week. He slammed the government for reducing the grant from NIS 300,000 to NIS 100,000 and especially for deciding that the money will be distributed in payments over the course of two years.

MK Yoel Hasson called this bill a life changer. He said it will end the discrimination against widows from before 1999 compared to the widows after 1999, who receive a monthly pension.

MK Eldad said it is hard for him to swallow but he must praise the government for presenting this bill.

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

Temporary Provision Amendment to the Telecommunications Bill

Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) explained he is extending the temporary order that funds local news broadcasts on cable TV for another year and that the extension will apply until the end of 2012.

The bill passed its second reading 14-0.

The bill passed its third reading 13-0.

Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance Bill

Finance Committee Chairman Shama explained the amendment will force the car registry to reveal more information about used cars before a new buyer purchases the vehicle and transfers it to his name.

The bill passed its second reading 11-0.

The bill passed its third reading 12-0.

Amendment to the Animal Protection Bill

MK Orlev explained the amendment prohibits declawing cats and only allows declawing in cases where the cat’s health demands it. He noted that criminals will receive a one year prison sentence for the crime.

The bill passed its second reading 9-0 with one MK abstaining.

The bill passed its third reading 10-0 with one MK abstaining.

MK Cabel (Labor) thanked the MKs for supporting the bill and said it is an important day for animal rights.

Disclosure of Information of Electronic Communication Network Subscribers Bill

MK Orlev explained that his original bill would put an end to a technical loophole where if somebody commits a crime online he is found innocent in the courts because in many cases it cannot be proven that the crime was committed from his computer. He stressed this bill doesn’t create any new laws, it simply enforces the current laws in cyberspace.

MK Yachimovich (Labor) opposed the bill on the grounds that it hurts freedom of the press. She stated that bloggers should be allowed to slander political figures and not be charged and convicted for it. She said that the bloggers are free from the pressures of the mainstream media and it allows them to say things that need to be said. She said that no one should go to jail because they wrote something in a talkback or Facebook, no matter how bad that talkback or status was.

MK Ben Ari said instead of stopping talkbackers or Facebookers we should be giving longer sentences to animals like the murderer of the Fogel family.

MK Orlev rejected Yachimovich’s claims that the bill hurts freedom of the press or expression. He said that the bill doesn’t create new laws; instead it enforces the existing ones in cyberspace. He slammed Yachimovich for suggesting that the Internet should be a safe haven for criminals to say whatever they want about anybody without any proof.

The bill passed its first reading 9-1 and was sent to the Science and Technology Committee.

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