The Knesset’s Monday session lasted about five hours. Twelve bills were discussed. Seven bills became law after passing their third readings, and five were advanced after passing their first readings. The session had a little bit of everything from single parents to social security to soldiers to Druze, among other interesting topics.

Non-Bills Summary

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘Incompetence of the Netanyahu government against instances of radicalization, violence and racism in Israeli society’ was defeated 36-47 with 37 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘A 20% increase in starting construction in the settlements’ was defeated 35-46-1 with 38 MKs not present.

* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘Low employment figures in the Arab population, compared to the general trend’ was defeated 27-50 with 43 MKs not present.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Additional Mailing Address for Minors Bill

Children’s Rights Committee Chairman Orlev (J.H.) explained the amendment would enable a parent who does not live with their child to receive all copies of the child’s official mail, change of address and educational, medical and financial information. He reported that the current law does not call for copies of documents, mail or information about a child for the parent who does not have full custody. He stated the court can decide to deny these privileges on a case by case basis. He said the point of the bill is to prevent mothers who decide to cut fathers out of their children’s lives for no explicable reason other than revenge. He stressed that parenting does not end when a couple gets divorced.

MK Sheetrit thanked Chairman Orlev for supporting his bill through two years of committee meetings. He said as a former Justice, Education and Interior Minister, he doesn’t understand why the government is opposing his two objections to his own bill. He said that a small minority of fathers are problematic and it is not fair to the majority of single fathers. He explained his objections would reduce the bureaucracy involved in this bill and make it easier. He stressed that fathers care about their biological children and they deserve to know when their children switch schools, health care providers, addresses and so on.

Chairman Orlev said the bill creates a dilemma that the father needs to go to a government office once to apply for his rights under this bill and Sheetrit’s objections would make them automatic. He called on the MKs to oppose the objections.

The paragraphs passed their second readings 32-0, 32-0 and 33-0.

The objections were defeated 10-21-1 and 12-21.

The bill passed its third reading 31-0.

MK Sheetrit thanked the Knesset for approving his bill despite rejecting his two just objections.

Amendment to the Economic Efficiency Implementation of the Economic Program for 2009 and 2010 Bill

Funds Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) explained the amendment would exempt businesses and companies that have a turnover of under NIS 2.5 million from certain financial reports. Non-profit organizations would receive the same exemptions for under NIS 20 million. He said this bill is a compromise that finds a balance between the needs of small businesses and the government collecting exact taxes. He thanked his assistants and fellow committee members.

The bill passed its second reading 16-0.

The bill passed its third reading 16-0.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) explained the amendment would distribute funds into programs that help at-risk children. He said the programs already exist under a temporary provision and this extension would be for three additional years. He said that the bill should become a permanent bill by that time.

The bill passed its second reading 12-0.

The bill passed its third reading 11-0.

Temporary Provision Amendment to the Defense Service Bill

Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) explained the temporary provision that forces male soldiers to serve 36 months instead of 30 months is being extended for a year, just like it has been extended every year before that since 1986.

The bill passed its second reading 13-0.

The bill passed its third reading 13-0.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) explained the amendment would force the social security office to return to a citizen the money he overpaid retroactively. He stated the current law is only up to three years and this will fix that issue.

The bill passed its first reading 16-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

Amendment to the Assisting Minors who are Victims of Sexual or Violent Crimes Bill

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon explained the amendment would create another eight shelters for victims of sexual and violent crimes who are minors, in addition to the two that are in existence today. He added the shelters would be built and operational by 2015.

MK Levi-Abekasis (Y.B.) said the deadline of building the shelters over three years is unacceptable. She stressed that these kids need help now and not in three years. She said all children who die from these crimes will be on the heads of the Labor and Welfare Minister, who has ducked away from building the shelters since the Supreme Court ordered them in 2008. She said the cost of implementing the bill of eight million shekels is nothing and should not be pushed off for three years.

MK Molla (Kadima) told the coalition they have a lot of chutzpa to vote for this bill with the three year clause and walked off the podium.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) said this is not the legislative home of Israel, but the populist home of Israel. He asked why only issues that make it to the papers can be passed into law and not important issues like this.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) called the bill arrogant and asked where the priority in the government lies. He asked where the eight million shekels is for minors who have been raped. He asked how the government isn’t embarrassed of itself. He said it is the government’s fault from now on for every minor who is raped.

MK Khenin (Hadash) said the bill is an embarrassment that surpasses all boundaries that sinks the government into its lowest part. He told the coalition MKs who respect themselves to walk out of the plenum and not vote for the bill.

MK Adatto (Kadima) said she feels contempt towards anyone who votes for this bill. She said as a doctor, she knows that children who are molested who don’t receive immediate treatment will carry it for the rest of their lives.

MK Whbee (Kadima) blamed MK Kahlon for passing a bill that he will never need to implement and charged his ministry will postpone it for another three years in 2015. He said walking out is not the right option, voting against the bill is.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon said he feels the pain of the previous seven speakers. He confessed the three years is a problem and he doesn’t agree with it. He stressed that no child is turned away from the two shelters in existence and the MKs are stretching the truth with their speeches. He blamed his predecessors for not building the shelters earlier.

The bill passed its first reading 21-14 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.

Amendment to the Sports Bill

Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas) explained the amendment would postpone the implementation of certain clauses for six months.

The bill passed its first reading 16-0 and was sent to the Sport Committee.

Amendment to the Elections Bill

MK Michaeli (Shas) explained the amendment would allow national service volunteers to vote in double envelopes in the areas of their service, just like the military does today.

MK Yoel Hasson said this is another promotion for another coalition’s attempt to mess around with national voting results. He slammed Orlev and the Jewish Home for trying to increase their electoral power through corruption.

MK Whbee said he doesn’t understand how the Likud and coalition can agree to pay such a heavy price for Jewish Home’s survival. He said this bill is squeezing all fairness out of the Israeli law book.

MK Orlev said he is guilty for sponsoring this bill and he won’t apologize for it. He said that national servicewomen should be entitled to the same rights as soldiers. He slammed Hasson and Whbee and told them to shut up.

The bill passed its first reading 16-8 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Employment Services Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the amendment would prohibit discrimination at the work place and when hiring employees for a wide variety of reasons including veteran soldiers and women going through fertility treatments. He added the bill will also not allow employers to worsen their work conditions.

The bill passed its second reading 17-0.

The bill passed its third reading 10-0.

MK Shai (Kadima) thanked the Knesset and MKs for supporting and passing his bill.

Amendment to the Pharmacists Ordinance Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the amendment would require all pharmacists- those who learned in Israel or abroad- to pass a government test before receiving a government license to practice in a pharmacy in Israel. He said the bill will take effect on January 1, 2013.

The bill passed its second reading 13-0.

The bill passed its third reading 12-0.

Amendment to the Absorption of Discharged Soldiers Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the amendment would increase the grant soldiers receive on their release from active service. He said for instance, a soldier who served 36 months in a combat unit will receive NIS 20,000 instead of NIS 9,650, a 105% increase, after the gradual increase is completed in 2016. He said the point of the bill is to give some appreciation to soldiers who served their country and give them a little something with which to start their lives.

The bill passed its second reading 13-0.

The bill passed its third reading 13-0.

MK Matalon (Y.B.) thanked the Knesset and MKs for supporting his bill and Chairman Katz for pushing it through as fast as possible. He also thanked Foreign Minister Liberman for helping him receive government support for the bill earlier on in the process.

Amendment to the Expanding Druze Community Representation Bill

MK Amar (Y.B.) explained the amendment would raise to 10% the Druze affirmative action throughout the public sector. He reported there are 130,000 Druze living in Israel, mainly in their 16 villages up north, and their average wage is under NIS 5,000 a month. He said the Druze have an 83% military rate. He pointed out 16% of Sefaram’s population is Druze but none of their 70 municipal workers are Druze.

MK Yoel Hasson praised and supported the bill, calling it important and a true answer to a difficult problem. He stated Israel owes the Druze and this bill is necessary.

MK Levin (Likud) said those who serve the country must receive from the country. He said the previous governments have ignored the Druze, but this government does care about the Druze and has helped them time and again.

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

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s January 16, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew:  http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/00386012.doc

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