The Knesset’s Monday session lasted about four 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 highlighted bill of the day was one that would allow Jewish tourists to stay in Israel for up to five years without having to visit the Interior Ministry (Misrad HaPanim). Other bills dealt with construction waste pollution, government repo men and sports labor unions.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘Netanyahu’s government deepens the social gaps and continues to hurt the middle class and the disadvantaged’ was defeated 33-43 with 44 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The government’s impotence in the political, social and economic sectors’ was defeated 32-45 with 43 MKs not present.

* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘War threats from government ministers’ was defeated 11-46-1 with 62 MKs not present.

* House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced which disputed motions would be discussed in which committees.

* A motion on ‘Local Government Day’ was discussed by Speaker Rivlin, Hasbara Minister Edelstein (Likud) and five MKs.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Sports Bill

Education, Culture and Sport Committee Chairman Miller (Y.B.) explained the amendment would update the labor laws in the Israeli sport labor groups effective June 30, 2012.

The bill passed its second reading 25-0 with one MK abstaining.

The bill passed its third reading 24-0 with one MK abstaining.

Amendment to the Repo Bill

Hasbara Minister Edelstein (Likud) explained the amendment would allow government repo men to finish cases they started for the three months following their retirement. He said this amendment will also allow repo men to finish cases that previous repo men already started, improving the current situation that forces them to start over.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) said the government should do more for the Arab community in term of police protection of law and order. He wondered what is being done with the billions of shekels going towards their communities. He charged opposition parties are securing more funds for their communities than the coalition parties. He slammed Opposition Leader Livni for saying the ultra-orthodox don’t contribute to the country in any way and are a burden to society.

The bill passed its first reading 15-0 and was sent to the Law Committee.

Amendment to the Maintenance and Cleanliness Bill

Environment Minister Erdan (Likud) explained the amendment would prevent construction waste in public areas by transferring the removal responsibility to the local authorities. He said seven and a half million tons of construction waste is created every year. He revealed that five million tons of waste goes missing and ends up in public areas. He went on to slam those that harm the environment by dumping in open green areas.

MK Eichler slammed the government for choosing to spend billions of shekels on the Dead Sea instead of on poor hungry children. He said he can’t believe the country anymore when they say they don’t have money. He said the priorities in this country are messed up. He went on to slam environmentalists who are driving up the prices of gasoline with their demands for cleaner fuel.

MK Khenin (Hadash) praised the bill. He said the polluting companies should be the ones to pay for cleaning up their waste and hopes the local authorities fine them heavily if they keep polluting. He disagreed with the exemption from the bill given to the defense establishment and hoped to change this exemption in the committee meetings. He said this should be a country that has an army and not an army that has a country.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) said he was troubled with the number of crimes within the Arab community, mostly crimes of robberies and murders. He added that issues of tax evasion are also very troubling in that sector. He said in society it is important to give, not just take.

MK Zeev (Shas) went on to attack MK Tibi (R.T.) for getting special treatment from Prime Minister Netanyahu and senior ministers. He said there is a lot of garbage in Israel and forcing the local authority to pay for it is wrong. He warned local taxes will be raised to pay for serial polluting.

Environment Minister Erdan told MK Zeev to read the bill. He said this bill will not cost the tax payers any money and won’t lead to an increase in taxes. He said the local authority and the construction company will come to an agreement on how much the cost of removal will be according to a price per ton arrangement.

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

Amendment to the Entry into Israel Bill

MK Michaeli (Shas) explained the amendment would allow Jewish tourists who are eligible for the right to return to have their tourist visa extended for up to five years. He said the burden of having our Jewish brothers wait in line several times a year in the interior ministry office will be over once this very just bill is passed.

MK Ben Ari eulogized a retired general who had passed away the day before. He said that many one-year American Jews decide against immigration to Israel because of the interior ministry’s policy against them. He expressed hope this bill will give the youth courage to stay in Israel and not go back to their parents in America. He noted every year 150,000 Jews marry non-Jews and are lost. He stated this bill will bring the children, who will eventually bring their parents.

MK Zeev said this important Shas bill will help thousands of Jews. He said in the Mir Yeshiva alone there are 3,000 Americans. He said the time has come to stop scaring off Jews from Israel. He said we shouldn’t force people to be Israelis; rather, they should be given the chance to become Israeli according to their own timetable.

The bill passed its first reading 10-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s February 13, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/00942612.doc

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