Monday’s Knesset session lasted about four hours. Six bills were discussed. Two bills became law after passing their third readings, and four were advanced after passing their first readings. The new laws provide widows of fallen soldiers from before 1999 with a one-time grant of NIS 100,000 and force the Speaker to report on the Knesset’s budget to the House Committee half-way through the budget year. The three no-confidence motions were defeated.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The helplessness of the Netanyahu government in the face of increasing violence and extremism in Israeli society’ was defeated 35-50 with 35 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The government’s inability to enforce law in the territories that brought hooliganism against IDF soldiers, Palestinians and leftists’ was defeated 34-52 with 34 MKs not present.

* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘Establishing a checkpoint by Shuafat and the decision to close the Mughrabi Bridge’ was defeated 9-51 with 4 MKs abstaining and 56 MKs not present.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Payment of Pensions to Reserve Soldiers and their Families Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) explained the amendment would present the widow or parents of a fallen soldier from before 1999 a one-time grant of NIS 100,000 over two installments in 2012 and 2013. He expressed regret that 224 orphans will not receive this grant because both of their parents are dead. He slammed Defense Minister Barak and the defense establishment and vowed that he will submit a bill to help those 224 orphans. He stated that this group of widows was discriminated against because widows of soldiers fallen after 1999 receive a monthly pension and until this bill widows from before 1999 have received nothing.

MK Eldad (N.U.) said that these widows have fought for their rights for over a decade. He expressed regret that they will only receive partial compensation for their loss and said they should have been allowed to receive a pension as well.

The bill passed its second reading 64-0.

The bill passed its third reading 66-0.

Amendment to the Antitrust Bill

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) explained the amendment would increase monetary sanctions on those who violate antitrust and monopoly laws. He said the current sanctions are not strong enough and the new sanctions will help Israel meet the OECD standards for antitrust laws.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) slammed the press for the increasing incitement against the ultra-orthodox and Opposition Leader Livni for speaking out against the public that he represents.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) attacked Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the one year anniversary of the Carmel Fire. He charged that Netanyahu’s office forced the host of the evening to read off of a piece of paper praising the Prime Minister. He said that today Israel acted just like North Korea.

MK Levin (Likud) agreed with Deputy Speaker Akunis (Likud) that MK Hasson was inciting against the Prime Minister and that his speech had nothing to do with the bill at hand. He disagreed with the Deputy Speaker that this matter should be sent to the Ethics Committee, citing the MK’s freedom of expression.

The bill passed its first reading 33-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Prohibition of Money Laundering Bill

Deputy Minister Shalom (Likud) defended MK Hasson and his words. He went on to explain that the amendment would update the regulation and sanctions on money laundering in order to meet the new international standards. He added that the amendment would also update the regulation and sanctions on money laundering for terrorism purposes as proposed by the Financial Action Task Force. MK Hasson made sure to heckle what he called a ‘North Korean dictatorship’.

MK Eichler recalled the infamous 11-hour filibuster speech of MK Eitan from the budget discussion of 1992, which was in its entirety on topic. He went on to blast Hasson for calling Israel North Korea and said that Israel still allows MKs to speak their will from the Knesset podium. He went on to blast anyone who incites against the ultra-orthodox. He said it is his public’s right to protest against the government or the Supreme Court for inciting against them and called on his public to do so.

MK Zeev (Shas) supported the bill. He said that today MK Hasson should be memorializing those who lost their lives in the Carmel fire and not playing political games with Netanyahu.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) drew a parallel between the Greeks of Hanukah and Israel’s enemies of today. He read several paragraphs from the book of the Maccabees.

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

Amendment to the Foundations of the Budget Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin explained his amendment would require the Speaker to report to the House Committee half-way through a budget year on the implementation of the Knesset’s budget. He expressed hope this would help the Speaker utilize all of the funds that were approved for the Knesset.

The bill passed its second reading 15-0.

The bill passed its third reading 13-0.

Amendment to the Knesset Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin explained the amendment would match the Knesset Bill with Basic Law: The Knesset and the Knesset Elections Bill. He said that the Knesset Bill has some outdated clauses that should be repealed in order to match the other two bills. He reported that the Hadash party has expressed concerns over the amendment and those concerns will be discussed in committee. He noted the government has decided not to intervene on this bill because it is an internal Knesset matter.

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

Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance Bill

MK Bielski (Kadima) explained his amendment would force every company vehicle to have a sticker with a phone number that allows drivers to report bad drivers to the company. He said that the company must create a tracking system for these bad drivers and take them off the road after repeated complaints. He stressed that the 27,340 policemen in Israel are overworked, and the country needs at least 50,000 policemen. He said that having more policemen would change the driving culture in Israel, but until that happens the citizens should act as policemen and complain about bad drivers to their companies. He noted that this bill will also apply to MKs.

MK Zeev (Shas) supported and praised the bill. He defended his record for the annual most speeches given from the podium ‘award’, which he wins every year. He disagreed with the clause that would force MKs to follow this proposed new law.

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

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