The Wednesday session lasted about eight hours and fifteen minutes. 14 bills were discussed. Three bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, two were turned into motions, two were postponed in order to avoid defeat and seven were defeated. The bills advanced deal with incentives for neutering your dog, providing grandparents the right to see their grandchildren and technical changes to the Knesset Bill. Five of eight motions were sent for further discussion in various committees.

Non-Bills Summary

*Homefront Defense Minister Vilnai (Independence), Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas), Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.), Communication Minister Kahlon (Likud) and Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.

*Eight motions were discussed on various topics. Five of them were sent for further discussion in various committees by the votes 12-0, 17-0, 8-0, 10-0 and 4-0. Two motions were not voted on, and a motion on the racism in Israeli education system textbooks was defeated 5-6.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Legal Capacity and Guardianship Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained his amendment would allow grandparents contact with a minor even if the parent isn’t allowed contact. He noted that the judges would have the authority to determine if the grandparents shouldn’t have contact with the minor.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 11-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Knesset Bill

MK Levin (Likud) explained that his amendment will match the Knesset Elections Bill to the Knesset Bill and eliminate several inconsistencies. He noted that the government doesn’t have a position on the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 23-0 and was sent to the House Committee.

Amendment to the Control of Dogs Bill

MK Cabel (Labor) thanked Minister Noked (Independence) and MK Rotem (Y.B.) for fighting with him for animal rights. He explained the amendment would promote spaying and neutering dogs by lowering the price of dog registration in order to prevent the thousands of dogs who are put to sleep every year. He noted that those who don’t neuter their dogs will need to pay more for registration than they do today.

Agriculture Minister Noked expressed government support for the bill.

MK Eldad (N.U.) said he is frustrated with the obsessive animal rights legislation over the last month. He suggested that if we start limiting the number of animals we will eventually limit the number of people. He warned that this bill will encourage people not to register their dogs to avoid the high costs of the registration, which will lead to fewer dogs being neutered and getting their shots. He opposed the bill and called on the Knesset to defeat it.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 28-2 with one MK abstaining and was sent to the Education Committee.

Amendment to the Planning and Building Bill/Motion

MK Barakeh (Hadash) explained the amendment would require building demolitions to be funded at the expense of the State. He stated that if the government wants to destroy an illegal building and throw a family out on the street, the government should pay for the demolition and not require the evicted family to pay for it. He blasted the government for discriminating against Arabs.

Environment Minister Erdan (Likud) said that Barakeh’s speech had little to do with the bill itself or the truth and therefore he will ignore his speech. He said that Jewish homes are also demolished for being illegal and a bill that legalizes illegal buildings is very questionable. He said that he was willing to support the bill as a motion if Barakeh was interested and he would explain to Barakeh why Barakeh was wrong in the committee.

MK Barakeh agreed to turn the bill into a motion in order to prevent its defeat.

The motion passed 55-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

MK Zahalka (Balad) explained his amendment would exempt students from paying national insurance contributions. He said that the social justice protesters were mainly students and the middle class. He said that they are still waiting for that social justice and this bill will bring it forward.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) expressed government opposition to the bill due to financial concerns.

The bill was defeated 24-38 with one MK abstaining.

Amendment to the Companies’ Ordinance Bill/Motion

MK Katzeleh (N.U.) explained that the amendment gives the government the power and grounds for dissolution of a company if it boycotts Israeli settlements by refusing to provide services or products. He noted that the bill doesn’t force the dissolution; it just empowers the government to do so. He noted the eight coalition MKs that signed the bill wish to see it passed today. He thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for showing up to hear his speech and called on him to support this nationalistic and Zionistic bill. He noted that Jews were boycotted throughout their history and now that we have our own state we can’t allow Israeli companies to boycott parts of Israel. He stated that 700,000 Jews over the green line are being boycotted and the government should do something about it.

Justice Minister Neeman opposed the bill on the grounds that the government can only dissolve a company if it commits illegal measures and can’t dissolve a company for ethical reasons. He said this bill could put many workers in the unemployment offices and that isn’t fair. He suggested to Katzeleh to find a different way to combat the boycotting of settlements and settlers.

MK Katzeleh said his co-sponsors suggested turning the bill into a motion and that is something he can support. He said the boycotting of Jews in Israel must be discussed in committee. Neeman agreed.

The motion was passed 45-13 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

MK Molla (Kadima) explained his amendment would allow the labor court to hear social security appeals and have the final decision in those cases. He called his bill a fair one that will bring justice to many people who were wronged.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon noted that in most cases it is already possible to appeal to the labor court. He said that he is against sending cases that don’t have to do with labor law to the labor court and therefore the government is against the bill. He said that he supports the current situation and said that doctors should make decisions rather than justices in health issues and so forth.

The bill was defeated 26-30.

Amendment to the Jewish Religious Services Bill

MK Molla explained his amendment would combine the religious council of Keisim with the regular religious council. He said that the Ethiopian Keisim are as versed in Jewish law as other rabbis and they should be included in the religious council and not forced to be separate. He said that the discrimination of Ethiopian religious leaders is unbearable and it is wrong that they don’t have any religious authority. He vowed to propose this bill every six months until it is passed.

Religious Affairs Minister Margi (Shas) noted that 86 Keisim have received salaries from his ministry for over twenty years. He said that Chief Rabbis from Morocco and other places had to take the Israeli tests before they entered the religious councils. He said that most Ethiopian Keisim don’t want to be part of the religious councils and many of them don’t do anything and still receive their paychecks. He slammed Molla for being a populist by attacking the religious establishment and told him that Ethiopians are not discriminated against and are treated like every other Jew.

MK Molla told Margi that he should be ashamed of himself telling him and the Ethiopians who they are and what they want. He said that they are not his electorate and they are not his people and they simply want to be part of the religious establishment which discriminates against them. He slammed Rabbi Ovadia Yosef for not doing anything for Ethiopians.

The bill was defeated 32-43. MK Orlev voted for the bill by mistake.

Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) slammed Molla for criticizing Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and told him that without Rabbi Yosef the Ethiopians never would have been brought to Israel.

Free Public Companies Phone Service Bill

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) explained that his original bill would provide free phone calls to public companies, ministries and institutions. He rejected those who said that the country can’t meet the funding required for the bill.

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan (Likud) confessed that he supported the bill but the government decided against it. He said that any bill that costs over a million shekels annually should be examined and if it doesn’t meet government priorities it won’t find support. He said that solving these issues should be directed towards internet solutions and not telephone service. He noted that many times if you call a government company they don’t answer their phone and said that consumers receive better service in person or through the internet. He stressed the most important thing is customer service in any form that they want.

MK Hasson slammed the government for opposing his bill and told them that their priorities are messed up. He said his bill will eventually pass.

The bill was defeated 30-39.

Amendment to the Senior Citizens Bill

MK Shai (Kadima) blamed the government for causing the social justice protests with a failed policy and charged that the government has done nothing since. He explained his amendment would lower the age of the male senior citizen in Israel from 67 to 62 so it matches the age for women. He said this would help them benefit from discounts in property tax, public transportation, television tax, national park and museum fees but would not affect pensions. He called the current situation male discrimination.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the lower female senior citizen age is meant to bring equality to women and to discriminate against men.

MK Shai slammed the government for not treating his bill with the respect it deserves. He slammed the government for not trying to make life a little bit easier for the elderly.

The bill was defeated 28-37.

Child Rights Commission Bill

MK Tirosh (Kadima) explained her original bill would create a child rights commission that would protect children’s rights.

Justice Minister Neeman opposed the bill on the grounds that there are many non-profits that protect children’s rights and there is no reason to create a commission for something that is already being done.

MK Tirosh said that a commission is required and she will continue to fight for children’s rights.

The bill was defeated 29-39.

Amendment to the Reserve Service Bill

MK Zuaretz (Kadima) explained her amendment would provide an academic year without reserve duty for every Israeli veteran. She said that the social justice protesters are calling for this type of bill. She stressed the importance of helping soldiers become civilians by giving them their first year off of reserve duty in order to concentrate on their studies. She agreed to postpone the vote on her bill in order to avoid defeat.

Amendment to the Public Defender Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained that her amendment would force the government to pay for lab tests of defendants needed to prove their innocence. She said that a person shouldn’t need to pay money to prove his innocence. She said that state forensic testing against defendants are often non conclusive and later on other lab tests prove their innocence.

Justice Minister Neeman opposed the bill on the grounds that many defendant lab tests and expert testimonies are paid for by the government. He said that allowing the defendants to order any test on the taxpayers’ back is excessive. He noted that the public defenders office themselves have come out against this bill. He called the bill unnecessary and said he wastes every Friday reading dozens of bills that are not necessary. He called on the MKs to think twice before submitting a bill and decide if it is really necessary to bother him and the Knesset with them.

MK Solodkin stated that innocent people are sitting in jail and only after the family can pay for lab tests does the truth come out and they are set free. She slammed Neeman for supporting the bureaucracy of the current system that will keep those innocent people in jail until they can afford to pay for the tests that prove their innocence. She called her bill very necessary.

The bill was defeated 24-36.

Amendment to the Discrimination Prohibition in Educational Institutions Bill

MK Michaeli (Shas) explained that his amendment would increase the sanctions on principals who discriminate against children through preventing enrollment in educational institutions. He noted that he has postponed this bill for six months and he will postpone the vote on this bill again. He said that he will eventually pass this bill and he will fight to do so.