Knesset’s Tuesday session lasted five hours. Four bills were discussed. Three bills became law after passing their third readings, and one bill was advanced after passing its first reading. There were more bills on the agenda, but Speaker Rivlin had called for a hard stop at 4 PM to ensure the MKs could get home in time to light the eighth Hanukkah candles. The new laws change the regulations of public broadcasting, allow municipalities to hire private security guards to pick up the slack from ineffective police stations and prevent settling in cases of a hit-and-run without the consent of the victim or his family. The bill advanced discusses the regulation of flyers put up in apartment buildings and the necessary compensation for damage caused.

Non-Bills Summary

* 20 MKs spoke during the one minute speech segment of the day. The main topic was the female retirement age and other feminist issues.

* A motion on Senior Citizen Day was discussed by Deputy Minister Nass (Likud) and seven MKs.

* A motion on the increase in public transportation fares on January 1, 2012, was discussed by seven MKs and Minister Eitan (Likud). The motion was sent for further discussion in the Funds Committee following a 6-0 vote.

* House Committee Chairman Levin announced that MKs Herzog (Labor), Orlev (J.H.) and Whbee (Kadima) replaced MKs Cabel (Labor), Orbach (J.H.) and Hermesh (Kadima) in a joint subcommittee on Holocaust affairs. He also announced which disputed bills would be discussed in which committees. The changes were approved by the votes 10-0 and 9-0.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Broadcasting Authority Bill

Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) explained that the bill he had started to present the previous day would update regulations in the public broadcasting authority, including property transfers and increasing the budget of foreign language programming. It would also lower the overall requirements of original programming in order to help public broadcasting balance their budget. He said that public broadcasting is about to go bankrupt and this is a band-aid, but if an overall reform is not passed soon it will go off the air within a year. He said that the 1,800 employees of public broadcasting are taking up most of the budget and jobs eventually will need to be cut if the channels want to survive. Speaker Rivlin said that he doesn’t like the bill but will vote for it. Shama stressed that if this bill isn’t passed today public broadcasting would close down in a month.

MK Wilf (Independence) said that the television tax should be raised and the budget for the public broadcasting must be raised significantly. She objected to the bill because it prevents financial flexibility by forcing the funding of certain programs and excluding others. She also slammed certain aspects of public broadcasting which she said was religious extremism.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said that the government is carrying out a terrorist attack against the media in Israel. He said that Netanyahu is trying to close Channel 10 and now Channel 1. He warned that the public broadcasting employees not loyal to Netanyahu will soon be laid off. He said that in a few years the media in Israel will become Bibi television and Bibi radio.

MK Edery (Kadima) said this bill will harm Israel’s pluralism and democracy. He said that neutering the press is harming Israel’s democracy.

MK Bielski (Kadima) suggested that perhaps the government should merge Channels 1 and 10 into one channel in order to save both.

MK Tiviaev (Kadima) said the government should save Channels 1 and 10 by increasing their funding significantly.

MK Shai (Kadima) stated that the Israeli media is under fire from enemies within the Knesset who choose to shut their mouths. He praised investigative reporting that led to the discovery of the extremism of Bet Shemesh. MK Eichler (U.T.J.) heckled Shai his entire speech. Shai warned that without Channels 1 and 10 the public might not learn about Bet Shemesh and other important subjects. He said that he doesn’t like the new face of Israeli society and he plans to fight against it.

MK Whbee (Kadima) asked why Netanyahu needs to be the minister in charge of public broadcasting. He said there are over 30 ministers and he can give it to someone else. He said this government is dangerous and is using public broadcasting as its own private channel.

MK Adatto (Kadima) said there is a witch hunt against the press. She said that freedom of expression is being attacked and no one in the government is doing anything about it because that is their will.

MK Plesner (Kadima) said that Netanyahu has decided to treat Channel 1 different than Channel 10 by allowing one to survive and the other to die. He said that Netanyahu is killing the original programming of Channel 1 in order to provide more programming for Russians and Ethiopians. He said this isn’t a reform but a disgrace.

MK Shamalov Berkovich (Kadima) said that public broadcasting hasn’t done its job and the citizens are frustrated with it. She said it is ridiculous that most of the budget goes towards salaries. She slammed the heavy regulation on Israeli television and called for it to be reformed. She said that the television tax should be abolished and called for closing down public broadcasting. She said that perhaps public broadcasting can be revived later.

MK Avital (Kadima) said that the opposition needs to think of alternate solutions to solve this problem and he admitted that he had none.

MK Cabel (Labor) stated that he misses the public broadcasting administration of Joe Bar-el and that shows how bad the situation has gotten. He said that most of the scheduling of Channels 1, 23 and 33 has become reruns.

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan (Likud) said he agreed that public broadcasting should see an increase in funding. He said that slumping ratings should be looked at by public broadcasting and they should realize which shows need to be cut. He said that he loves public broadcasting and this bill is needed to save it. He called on the Knesset to approve the bill and oppose the objections. He warned that defeating this bill will kill public broadcasting.

The bill’s paragraphs passed their second readings 35-18, 34-17-1 and 35-18

Objections to the bill were defeated 0-51-1, 17-35-1, 17-35, 17-34-1 and 17-34-1.

The bill passed its third reading 35-18.

Temporary Amendment to the Municipalities Ordinance Bill

MK Bielski (Kadima) explained the amendment would allow municipalities to take an additional city tax in order to pay for municipal security. Bielski said that sometimes the police don’t do their job in certain cities and the municipality should be allowed to hire private security. He noted that this amendment would be a one year experiment until the beginning of 2013.

MK Khenin (Hadash) called the bill dangerous and slammed the government. He said that the government has decided not to enforce law and order, leaving it to the municipalities. He stated that it is time to vote something down and tell the government to take responsibility for the natural items of which it is entrusted. He said it is illogical that a right-wing government would choose not to provide security for its citizens. He asked what the citizens are paying taxes for.

Interior and Environment Committee Chairman Cohen (Shas) thanked Bielski for supporting and presenting the bill.

The bill passed its second reading 17-2.

The bill passed its third reading 17-2.

Amendment to the Cleanliness Maintenance Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained his amendment would regulate where someone can place a flyer in an apartment building. He said the amendment also provides compensation towards citizens that have their property damaged by flyers.

The bill passed its first reading 12-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Rights of Victims of Crime Bill

MK Michaeli (Shas) explained the amendment would prevent settling hit-and-run cases without the consent of the victim or his family.

MK Bielski (Kadima) thanked the Knesset for supporting his bill and listed the hit-and-run cases which led him to sponsor the bill.

The bill passed its second reading 12-0.

The bill passed its third reading 11-0.

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