Monday’s session lasted about five hours. Six bills were discussed. Two new laws were enacted after the bills passed their third readings, and four bills were advanced after passing their first readings. The new laws change the tax brackets for 2012 and the Israeli patent laws. The most debated bill advanced was the Museum Bill that would fund museums in Judea and Samaria. The three no-confidence motions were defeated as usual.

Non-Bills Summary

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The Netanyahu government undermines the middle class and the disadvantaged groups’ was defeated 32-48 with 40 MKs not present.

* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The government is trying to bury the demands of social justice’ was defeated 30-49 with 41 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The IDF’s decision to bury the Segev Committee report requiring equality between men and women’ was defeated 30-49 with 41 MKs not present.

* The Justice, Law and Constitution Committee’s request to split a bill into two was approved 14-0.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Patents Bill

Justice, Law and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) explained the amendment would change Israel’s patent laws in order to meet the conditions of the 2009 signed agreement with the WIPO. He noted that not one MK showed up to the committee meetings on the subject.

The bill passed its second reading 42-0 with one MK abstaining.

The bill passed its third reading 39-0.

Amendment to the Change in the Tax Burden Bill

Funds Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) explained the amendment would raise the corporate tax by 1% to 25%. It would also lower income tax in the NIS 8,000 – 14,000 per month bracket by 2%, raise the negative income tax on women by 50%, raise men’s bonus points by two for children under the age of 3, and raise the senior citizens’ interest tax exemption from NIS 9,000 to NIS 13,000 per month for an individual and up to NIS 16,000 for a couple. In addition, the amendment would grant the authorization and transfer of property of secondhand homes to the buyer after the tax authority receives a portion of the purchase tax- NIS 7,500 for apartments built after 2001 and NIS 15,000 for apartments built before.  The amendment would also lower interest rates on mortgages of under NIS 220,000 by 1% only for 2012. He stated the bill will help the middle class at the expense of the rich elite and the bill will assist families in buying their homes. He blasted the Trachtenberg committee, which he said did not reflect the Israeli population since it didn’t have any religious Jews or Arabs.

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) praised the bill and slammed Trachtenberg. He suggested the next steps should be eliminating the VAT on real estate purchases and lowering real estate taxes.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) praised the bill and Chairman Gafni. He said the bill was balanced and creates real solutions for the middle class’ troubles. He rejected the claims that the tent protesters were a bunch of communists and suggested the government listen to their cries. He went on to call on the government to solve the demographic problem by providing free childcare from the age of three months through high school and cheaper university tuition. He concluded by praising the government for eliminating the customs tax for purchases under NIS 1,200.

MK Molla (Kadima) praised the bill but expressed disappointment that the bill doesn’t go further in the real estate category. He said that we don’t need communism but we should turn the pyramids around so that there are fewer poor people and more rich people. He agreed with Hasson that child daycare should be free from three months old. He slammed the government for raising the electricity prices at the same time they are lowering the middle class’ taxes, suggesting the middle class will not save any money.

MK Whbee (Kadima) praised and supported the bill. He said that any time the government takes money from the rich and gives it to the poor it is a bill that Kadima will support. He thanked the government for lowering the gas taxes. He slammed the government for not doing more for the over 1.7 million Israelis under the poverty line. He said the poor keep getting poorer and the rich keep getting richer.

MK Gafni said he agreed with the four MKs who spoke on the bill and said he wished he could have added other things to the bill. He said that by helping the companies and the rich, the poor get jobs and that is why Israel has an all time low rate of unemployment. He said the important thing is to find a balance and that is what this bill brings. He thanked all of the MKs for supporting the bill.

The bill passed its second reading 41-0.

The bill passed its third reading 40-0.

MK Barakeh (Hadash) called on the government to cancel the two-year budget and to reopen it for 2012 to add the demands of the tent protesters. He said that taxes should be raised on the rich and lowered for the poor. He called for ending the occupation and eliminating most of the defense ministry’s budget.

Finance Minister Steinitz (Likud) thanked the MKs from all the parties that supported the bill. He urged financial responsibility and prayed that the Euro doesn’t crash.

Amendment to the Museums Bill

MK Ariel (N.U.) explained the amendment would apply the museum bill to Judea and Samaria. He noted four museums that would now be able to receive government funding like other Israeli museums. He asked why 400,000 Judea and Samaria residents have taxation without representation as unequal citizens under Israeli law. He expressed hope that this will be the first step in righting that wrong.

MK Molla announced that Kadima had decided to allow every MK to vote according to their belief on this bill. He expressed his view that Israel should end the occupation and that he will support this bill until the residents of Judea and Samaria return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

MK Barakeh called this bill a win to the land grabbers, hilltop youth and price taggers. He called on the government to fund a Palestinian museum on the occupation and settler violence. He said that the settlers are not citizens and therefore do not deserve rights. He stated his belief that the settlements are temporary.

MK Swaid (Hadash) said that this bill is meant to annex Judea and Samaria into Israel. He said the land is occupied and can’t be annexed. He said this bill is parallel to the construction of a museum of tolerance over a Muslim cemetery. He asked if Israel wants to annex the King Solomon borders and rule over the whole Middle East.

MK Khenin (Hadash) said this bill teaches us that Israel is still trying to play the Zionist game of the 1940s. He said that the world will never accept the occupation and that Israel will eventually give up on ruling over the Palestinians.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) accused Netanyahu for supporting a two state solution of Israel and a second country for the settlers of Judea and Samaria, leaving nothing for the occupied Palestinians. He said that the Jews have no historical or geographic claim to Israel. He said as the decedents of Abraham the Palestinians deserve at least 50% of historic Palestine.

MK Zahalka (Balad) stated there is a normalization of the occupation and that is the reason this bill doesn’t receive press coverage. He called the bill a violation of international law. He called Israel a criminal nation.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) supported the bill and praised it. He slammed the Muslims for denying the Jewish state of Israel and the Supreme Court for accepting many of these ridiculous Muslim claims.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) rejected the Palestinian claims that they are Jebozites, noting that they were idol worshipers, not Arabs or Abrahamites. He praised the bill.

MK Rotem noted that there was never any Palestinian state and that Israel conquered Judea and Samaria from Jordan. He said that the U.N. partition plan called for a Jewish land and an Arab land, and both were created- Israel and Jordan. He stated that the Palestinian people are a new invention, their land is not occupied and the bill is not a violation of international law. He praised the bill.

The bill passed its first reading 19-3 and was sent to the Culture Committee.

Amendment to the Pensions to Prisoners of Zion and their Families Bill

Immigration and Absorption Minister Landver (Y.B.) explained the amendment would create a technical change over which court will listen to appeals that deal with the implementation of the bill.

MK Molla slammed the bill and warned that this bill is meant to make the appeal process more difficult. He said this is a bad bill and disagreed with the Supreme Court’s call for this change.

MK Eichler supported the bill. He went on to slam MK Yoel Hasson for repeatedly inciting against the ultra-orthodox.

The bill passed its first reading 12-2 and was sent to the Immigration Committee.

Amendment to the Foundations of the Budget Bill

MK Levin (Likud) explained the amendment would force the Speaker to release a report on budget execution of the Knesset every six months. He noted the government doesn’t have a position on the issue.

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

Amendment to the Pre-Military Schools Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained the amendment would increase the funding in the ministry of education budget section of the bill from NIS 33 to 49 million annually. He added that the entire budget will come from the Education Ministry, instead of the current situation where the Defense Ministry pays 50%. He noted that in most years the Defense Ministry didn’t pay their half of the money and the pre-military schools received only half of their money.

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

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