The Knesset’s Monday session lasted about three and a half hours. Four bills were discussed. Three bills were advanced after passing their first readings, and one bill became law after passing its third reading. The new law allows women to file a complaint seven years after an act of sexual harassment. The bills advanced increase gas station inspections, increase the number of retired judges working cases, and fix military plea bargains so that they are in line with civil plea bargains. The government defeated three no-confidence motions.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The Netanyahu government violates the fundamental right of the middle class to housing in general and obtainable housing in particular’ was defeated 31-49 with 40 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘Netanyahu government housing projects defaulting, young couples’ abandonment, destruction of public housing and cruelty towards the homeless’ was defeated 32-51 with 37 MKs not present.

* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The acute housing shortage in Arab society and freezing of the master plans’ was defeated 23-52 with 45 MKs not present.

* Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) announced the government’s request to transfer certain authorities from their current ministries to other ministries. Two MKs gave speeches on their positions, and the request was approved 23-0.

* Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Ayalon (Y.B.) answered two queries at the end of the session.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Vehicle Operation Bill

Energy and Water Minister Landau (Y.B.) explained his amendment would increase the number of safety inspections in gas stations for each type of fuel tests.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) blasted claims that the housing minister is only providing housing for the ultra-orthodox community. He said that this is a democratic country and there should be no “us” and “them”. He stressed we are one country. He said providing for big families is more important than for smaller families and it has nothing to do with religion. He slammed the press for incitement against the ultra-orthodox.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) said he wants real equality. He said it is unfair that for the first time less than 50% of 18-year old Tel Aviv residents were drafted to the army. He said certain high schools prohibit soldiers from giving classes in their schools. He noted 70% of Judea and Samaria residents serve in the army. He said he is looking for equality and not hypocrisy.

MK Eldad (N.U.) praised the government’s decision to test the gas stations’ fuel more than six times a year. He asked why Landau listed all 1,083 Israeli gas stations as meeting the government standards and then decided to increase the frequency of the tests rather than change the standards.

The bill passed its first reading 22-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Courts Bill

Homefront Defense Minister Vilnai (Independence) announced the amendment would increase the number of retired judges who are allowed to hear certain cases in all of the lower and middle level courts. He explained retired judges who are older than 75 will be prohibited from participating in the program.

MK Eichler continued his speech attacking the mainstream media for inciting against ultra-orthodox Jews. He accused the capitalist government of being taken over by business tycoons. He said it not acceptable to say, “just because I don’t have a house, no one should have a house.”

MK Ben Ari praised Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) for bringing school children to Hebron but warned him that extreme leftist activists from ‘Breaking the Silence’ are providing tours for them. He told Sa’ar to solve the problem swiftly. He said that it is better not to take kids to Hebron if this is the education they are receiving.

The bill passed its first reading 19-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Military Justice Bill

Homefront Defense Minister Vilnai explained the amendment would match military court plea bargains to civil court plea bargains in most cases.

MK Ben Ari called Meretz a racist party because they keep calling other parties racist. He said that by asking for a committee discussion on Arabs moving to Safed he would be called a racist but when Meretz asks for a committee discussion on Jews moving into Nazareth-Illit that is not called racist. He said Jews are allowed to live in mixed cities like Lod, Ramla, Jaffa and Nazareth-Illit. He told Meretz that they are disappearing like phonebooks and it is the religious Jews who are winning the Jewish demographic battle.

MK Eldad said he is against plea bargains in the military or in civil courts. He said plea bargains mean that a criminal doesn’t receive the punishment they deserve according to the law. He slammed Jordan for intervening in internal Palestinian matters and Israeli security issues.

MK Zeev (Shas) said he feels plea bargains are a good thing and he supports the bill. He slammed the State Comptroller for blaming Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) for the Carmel fire and accused the Comptroller of leaking information from the report and inciting against Yishai for political reasons.

The bill passed its first reading 13-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Sexual Harassment Prevention Bill

Women’s Rights Committee Chairwoman Hotovely (Likud) explained the amendment would allow a woman to file a complaint seven years after the fact instead of three years. She said this way a woman who is under a man’s spell would have seven years after the harassment to complain.

The bill passed its second reading 13-0.

The bill passed its third reading 8-0.

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s January 30, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/00661412.doc

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