Tuesday’s Knesset session lasted three hours. Two bills were discussed and advanced after passing their first readings. The Tuesday session started early because of Hanukah, and the Speaker announced it must end no matter what at 3 PM to enable the Knesset members to make it home in time to light the first Hanukah candle. The bills advanced will provide consumers with a monthly report from the bank of all of their expenses and will raise city taxes in order to increase the municipal security guard force and their authority.

Non-Bills Summary

* 17 MKs spoke during the one minute speech segment that opened the day.

* Hasbara Minister Edelstein (Likud) answered six queries during a question hour.

Bills Summary


Amendment to the Consumer Protection Bill

MK Maklev (U.T.J.) explained his amendment would force the banks to send a report to their customers with the details of every ongoing transaction payment. He said that many expenses are monthly expenses and this will help consumers look at all of them on one page. He stated that this bill will help consumers compare their expenses from month to month and from year to year. He noted that the bank will also add to the report if there is an outstanding monthly expense, in order to help the consumer realize what he has not yet paid for, as well as help the consumer realize if a company is still charging for a service that has been cancelled.

MK Majadele (Labor) supported and praised the bill. He said this bill will allow the consumer to view all of his expenses in one place and will lead to him reducing unnecessary consumption. He went on to talk about the gaps between the rich and the poor.

MK Levin (Likud) supported and praised the bill. He said this is the easiest way to introduce consumer responsibility and will ultimately lower the prices in the marketplace. He said the most important part of the bill is that this piece of paper will be now be a source of proof for the consumer towards the companies who wish to take money from him, sometimes unjustly.

The bill passed its first reading 11-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Municipalities Ordinance Bill

Hasbara Minister Edelstein explained the amendment would increase the authority for municipalities’ security guards to maintain public order. He noted that this will replace a series of existing temporary orders that basically say the same exact thing and will make these changes final in the regular law. He noted that the police support this bill, and the changes will take effect January 1.

MK Zeev (Shas) talked about the mob and organized crime. He said that although this bill might be a good one, the government should be focusing on combating the rise of organized crime. He disagreed with the decision that city taxes will be increased in order to meet the budget needs of the bill. He said that this bill could cost the citizens a lot of money.

MK Molla (Kadima) said that this is another indirect tax on the Israeli people and expressed his opposition to all indirect taxes. He insisted that this tax should not fall on the citizens and should instead come from the state budget. He said that although he is against the bill, he will support it because Kadima supports it. Speaker Rivlin asked what the difference is between citizens paying for the service through the state or municipal budget. Molla said that after the social justice protests it is irresponsible to introduce a new tax, even if it is a necessary tax to provide important services.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) talked about the victims of the Carmel fire. He went on to talk about the crime of illegal immigrants and asked if this bill will solve that problem. He noted that the Tel Aviv police can’t deal with the illegal immigrant crime and he assumed this bill will do nothing to solve that problem. He said despite this, he will support the bill.

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) said this bill is a bad bill. He said that most cities are dealing with a wave of robberies and this bill doesn’t solve that problem. He said that instead the city raises its taxes and burdens its citizens. He called on the government to raise the number of police and to increase its funding.

The bill passed its first reading 6-2 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

MK Sheetrit equated the uprising of the Maccabees against the Greeks as a small nation defeating the United States today. He noted that the Jews who joined the Greeks are gone and it was the descendents of Jews who fought the Greeks that rebuilt Israel over the last century and remain the Jews of today.