The Knesset’s Monday session lasted about four and a half hours. Four bills were discussed. One bill became law after passing its third reading, and three bills were advanced after passing their first readings. The new law heavily regulates the advertising and marketing of alcohol. The bills advanced deal with prohibiting entrance fees for Israeli Memorial Day activities, youth rights on sports teams, and free calls to help centers for sexual abuse victims. The government survived the no-confidence motions as usual.

Non-Bills Summary

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘Extension of Tal Law – Netanyahu government encourages ultra orthodox army evasion and inequality of the military burden’ was defeated 32-47 with 41 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘Netanyahu government’s failure in the political, social and economic sector’ was defeated 40-47 with 33 MKs not present.

* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘Justice Minister Neeman’s request to give amnesty to policeman Shahar Mizrahi and his policy of not punishing policemen who kill Arab civilians’ was defeated 10-52-1 with 57 MKs not present.

* Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) presented the government’s request to extend a temporary provision on the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Bill that prohibits citizenship of Palestinian Arabs who marry Israeli citizens. 17 MKs gave speeches and clarified their position on the request. At the end of the discussion the extension was approved 37-14.

* Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) asked the Knesset to approve his committee’s request to split a bill the committee is discussing into two. The Knesset approved the request 17-0.

* MK Aflalo (Kadima) gave his goodbye address after submitting his letter of resignation to Speaker Rivlin earlier in the day. He thanked the MKs and Knesset workers and said he would remember them after he takes his new position in the KKL. He chose not to congratulate Avraham Duan, who was set to replace him 48 hours later.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Limitation on Advertising and Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill

 

Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) said that alcohol is linked to serious violence and, in many cases, death. He noted the World Health Organization lists alcohol as the third leading cause of death after high blood pressure and cigarettes. He warned that alcoholism has become an epidemic among Israeli youth. He explained the purpose of the new amendment is to limit the advertising and marketing of alcoholic beverages in Israel by prohibiting advertising on all billboards, youth newspapers and magazines, youth television and radio shows. He added regular newspapers and magazines will be restricted to three alcohol advertisements, and alcohol companies may not market package deals that take up more than five percent of the advertisement. He stated alcohol advertisements will be limited to information of the product and will carry a warning on television, radio and print (as well as the bottle itself) about the danger of drinking alcohol. He noted that giving away alcohol as a prize in a raffle or sweepstakes on television or radio will be prohibited, but it will be permitted in bars and at alcohol festivals. He said certain lobby groups tried to exempt wine and beer from the bill, but they were not successful. He said that most of the new provisions will start in three months, but a few will take effect in two years. He concluded that it is very important to heavily regulate the alcohol industry and thanked the sponsor of the bill for adding the latest round.

The bill passed its second reading 24-0.

The bill passed its third reading 23-0.

MK Danon (Likud) thanked the MKs and Knesset for approving his bill. He announced that it was the marketing to youth that convinced him to write the bill, and when he found out that Israel is third in the world in 11-year-old alcohol consumption he chose to expand the bill.

Amendment to the Israeli Memorial Day Bill

MK Matalon (Y.B.) explained his amendment would prohibit charging entrance to Israeli Memorial Day activities. He said the decision of non-profits to charge for entrance to last year’s activities led to a lower number of participants and a big moral disgrace to families who lost loved ones. He urged the Knesset to help him advance and pass his bill before the next Israeli Memorial Day.

MK Katzeleh (N.U.) expressed his support for the bill. He stated certain people are against this bill because it would prevent high-profile singers from performing at the events and pocketing a nice salary. He suggested that if these high-profile singers get greedy, there are patriotic mid- and low-profile singers who can replace them.

MK Yachimovich (Labor) thanked the government for abandoning capitalism and free markets and adopting her socialist policies. She expressed hope this would be the first of many socialist bills that she co-sponsored that will become law under this capitalist government. She agreed with Katzeleh, stressing the artists should agree to perform for free and not take money on such an important day.

The bill passed its first reading 17-0 and was sent to the Culture Committee.

Amendment to the Sports Bill

MK Tirosh (Kadima) explained the amendment would inform minors of their rights and responsibilities when they join a youth sports team and force teams to trade them if they demand it within two months of the request. She stated soccer players have shelf lives of until the age of 30 and their rights before the age of 18 should be protected since that is a large portion of their career. She concluded by announcing the bill also deals with overseas health insurance for minors.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) slammed the press for inciting against the ultra-orthodox and the secular MKs who are trying to ride that wave. He said it is unacceptable that other minority groups like Ethiopians, Druze and Arabs are protected, while the ultra-orthodox are left out to dry.

The bill passed its first reading 9-0 and was sent to the Sport Committee.

Amendment to the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Bill

MK Levi-Abekasis (Y.B.) explained her amendment would require that all telephone calls to emergency centers for victims of sexual assault be made free. She said these centers do important work and save lives, and the price of the telephone call should be picked up by the government. She added that her bill would prohibit telephone companies from releasing information on who is calling the centers and who the centers are calling.

The bill passed its first reading 10-0 and was sent to the Women’s Rights Committee.

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s January 23, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/00515112.doc

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