The Knesset’s Wednesday session lasted about seven hours. 16 bills were discussed. Five bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, three were turned into motions, one was not voted on to avoid defeat and seven were defeated. The bills advanced prohibit a customer from purchasing prostitution services, extend the time seniors can take out their pensions tax-free, prohibit charging television owners who don’t have television channels the TV tax and a financial grant to women who leave shelters. The newest MK Shnaan was sworn in.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas), Justice Minister Neeman and Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) answered urgent queries to open the session.

* Speaker Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Opposition Minister Livni gave warm speeches welcoming the President of the Republic of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic, to the Knesset.

* Speaker Rivlin swore in new MK Shachiv Shnaan (Independence), who replaced Home Front Defense Minister Vilnai (Independence) in the Knesset. Vilnai will keep his ministerial position until he is appointed Ambassador to China.

* Seven motions were discussed on a wide range of subjects. Four motions were sent to committee by the votes 8-0, 9-0, 3-0 and 4-0. Two motions were not voted on. A motion on Abu Mazen’s speech and Netanyahu’s response was defeated 6-6.

* Energy and Water Minister Landau (Y.B.) answered a query and Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) answered three queries.

Bills Summary

 

Amendment to the Prohibition of Prostitution and the Care and Treatment of the Community Bill

MK Zuaretz (Kadima) said that Israel has been a serial offender of sex trafficking and pimping. She said this has not helped Israel’s standing internationally when their human rights position is already in question. She said many female foreign workers from the far east and illegal immigrants from Africa are among the prostitution rings. She said the blue and white prostitution rings have 12 and 13 year olds among their ranks. She said it is the costumers and demand that keep these prostitution rings open. She said that is why she wrote her amendment that would prohibit costumers from paying for sex.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill. He said prostitution is immoral and the government supports the bill that would allow up to a six month prison sentence for any customer to pays for a prostitute.

MK Zuaretz promised this bill will help prostitutes.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 28-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.

Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill

MK Haim Katz (Likud) explained his amendment would extend the period in which pensioners can take out their pension without paying additional fines.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government support for the bill.

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) objected to the bill. He said he agrees with Katz’s ideas but that he disagrees with the methodology. He called on going back to the pre 2008 methods which would save the pensioner a lot of money. He stressed there is no longer any reason to open a “Kupat Gemel” because it is no longer a sound financial stragedy.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 22-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.

Two Amendments to the New Shekel Currency Bill

MK Whbee (Kadima) explained his amendment would repeal the rounding of shekel amounts. He said that the poor people need every agura and are losing it every time they pay 1.99 or 2.99 etc. He said billions of shekels disappear a year and hurt the customers.

MK Eldad (N.U.) said his similar amendment would accomplish the same thing, allow the poor Israelis save every agura possible by prohibiting the rounding of shekel.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen expressed government opposition to both bills. He said that although citizens who pay in cash lose their agurot, those who pay with credit cards and checks don’t lose their agurot. He said allowing flexibility with the agurot helps the businesses and the government doesn’t want to change that. He charged government analysts thing both bills will lead to an increase of prices throughout the market.

MK Whbee charged the government is allowing businesses to steal money for the poor. He stressed the poor people don’t have credit cards and they can only pay in cash.

The first bill was defeated 19-33.

The second bill was defeated 19-32.

Amendment to the Absorption of Discharged Soldiers Bill

MK Whbee explained his amendment would require the government to fund veterans preparation courses for psychometric test. He said that veterans can’t afford the price of the preparation courses from the basic discharge package and need more help from the government. He said he would withdraw the bill if the stupid psychometric test are abolished, which he said isn’t a good measure of a students abilities. He said the veteran package is privately funded but managed by the government, so they can’t even pretend his bill is a strain of the state budget. He said it is the governments job to help veterans get to the state universities.

Energy and Water Minister Landau (Y.B.) expressed government opposition to the bill. He said that the government love veterans and just raised the exit package of veterans. He stated the soldiers are allowed to use that money towards courses for psychometric tests if they so choose.

MK Whbee said the government should be deciding what to do with private donors money and allowing his bill to pass.

The bill was defeated 19-32.

Amendment to the Consumer Protection Bill/Motion

MK Tirosh (Kadima) explained her amendment would change the rules and regulations for digital parking ticket services. She said they need to be upgraded to be customer friendly.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that legislation isn’t the place to fix the issues Tirosh is bringing up.

MK Tirosh responded she is willing to withdraw her bill if Simhon agrees to fix the problem without legislation. She asked if she could turn the bill into a motion, so they could discuss the matter in committee. Simhon agreed.

The motion passed 47-1 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Sale of Apartments Bill

Justice Minister Neeman responded to MK Sheetrit’s bill that he proposed at an early date. He expressed opposition to the bill that would limit the cost of legal fees as a component of the price. He said a lawyer should be allowed to charge as much as they want for a service and the customer and market will decide if they want to pay that price.

MK Sheetrit reminded Minister Neeman that originally the government supported the bill. He said lawyers shouldn’t take 1.5% to 2% of the price of a house and called it a scandal. He slammed the Tourist Minister and MK Rotem (Y.B.) for convincing the government to overturn its original decision. He thanked Minister Peled (Likud) and Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) for appealing Rotem’s opposition. He slammed the coalition for opposing the bill because of one person’s objection.

The bill was defeated 21-27.

Amendment to the Securities Bill

Finance Minister Steinitz (Likud) responded to MK Sheetrit’s bill that he proposed at an early date. He expressed government opposition to the bill that would prohibit issuance of shares for debt. He said the bill would harm the economy by putting additional strain on the big businesses. He stated it is in the publics interest to forgive big businesses debt to the country because the companies usually rebound. He said the country should help these companies. He said new management shouldn’t be penalized for previous management’s failed decisions. He told Sheetrit not to be correct, but to be smart. He said this bill would create an atmosphere that would harm the economic system as we know it.

MK Sheetrit reminded that two weeks ago Prime Minister Netanyahu supported his bill. He charged that Steinitz didn’t read his bill because the scenarios he listed wouldn’t happen under his bill. He charged that the coalition members are afraid to pass this bill because they are planning on getting jobs in those big companies one day.

The bill was defeated 19-34.

Struggle against Poverty Day Bill/Motion

MK Ben Simon (Labor) explained his original bill would force the government to celebrate a day marking the struggle against poverty, as well as force the government to act on behalf of that day each year. He noted 485,000 families live under the poverty line in Israel and the government must do something about it.

Energy and Water Minister Landau asked Ben Simon to turn the bill into a motion in order to avoid its defeat. Ben Simon agreed.

The motion passed 21-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

 

Amendment to the Planning and Building Bill

MK Katzeleh (N.U.) explained his amendment would place conditions for demolitions and prohibit them from 6 PM until 8 AM. He stated that his bill would apply to Arabs, Bedouins, Jews and settlers. He thanked MK Khenin (Hadash) for co-sponsoring the bill with him and said this proved both sides of the political spectrum supported the idea. He asked where the animal activists are and said it is too bad they care more about cows and chickens. He read off a government decision to prohibit milking a cow on the television show Big Brother because it might harm the cows daily routine. He slammed the government for deciding the cow’s routine is more important than the children who are thrown out of their beds in the middle of the night with no warning. He slammed Minister Eitan (Likud) for suggesting the bill won’t apply in Judea and Samaria. He said demolition can take place during the day and it isn’t proper for the government to give kids psychiatric scaring. He asked the leftist where they are and why they won’t at least save the Arabs homes.

Minister Nahari (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill and said it wouldn’t apply to Judea and Samaria. He said there is no difference between demolishing a house in the day or the middle of the night.

MK Katzeleh said Prime Minister Netanyahu must feel that he will be Prime Minister for the next 18 years, because opposing such a bill will hurt him politically on the left and on the right. He slammed Kadima for leaving the room because they can’t vote for a National Union bill but can’t vote against this bill.

The bill was defeated 9-21.

Amendment to the Planning and Building Bill

MK Zoabi (Balad) said it is illegal to demolish any house and there is no such thing as an illegal house. She spent ten minutes slamming the government for their policy of destroying houses. She explained her amendment would only allow a demolition if a social worker report allows it.

Minister Nahari expressed government opposition to the bill. He slammed parents for keeping their children at home when the government comes to throw them out. He said the parents are guilty for all scars their children receive.

The bill was defeated 6-25.

Amendment to the Housing Loans Bill/Motion

MK Naffaa (Balad) explained his amendment would allow someone who is eligible to one loan to take an additional loan at the same rate. He added the loan repayment participation would be at a lower interest rate and couldn’t exceed 3%. He noted that his bill was very similar to Deputy Speaker Vaknin’s (Shas) bill that is buried in committee.

Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas) charged Naffaa’s bill doesn’t accomplish what the purpose of his bill wishes and therefore the government is against it. He said that his ministry chose 28 towns and whoever wishes to build in those towns will receive a grant between 100,000 to 120,000 NIS. He suggested turning the bill into a motion and Naffaa agreed.

The motion passed 23-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill

MK Hermesh (Kadima) slammed the government for allowing a select few profit for Israel’s economic growth at the expense of the majority. He explained his amendment would prohibit public companies from paying salaries of over 250,000 NIS a month from taxpayers money. He said anyone who makes over three million shekels a year shouldn’t receive that money from the tax payers. He agreed to postpone the vote on his bill in order to enlist government support.

Amendment to the Broadcasting Authority Bill

MK Hermesh explained his amendment would grant an exemption on television tax fees for TVs that do not get their TV signals. He said some people buy televisions to use them for purposes other then watching broadcast TV. He said that because television can only pick up broadcasts with a digital recorder, those who don’t own a digital shouldn’t have to pay TV tax.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 7-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Two Amendments to the Women Living in Battered Women Shelters Benefits Bill

MK Gal-On (Meretz) explained her amendment would present a financial grant for the first thirty days after a woman leaves a shelter to assist her in the adjustment period. She said this bill will help these women pay for basic things and prevent them from going back to their horrific husbands. She said the grant is 8,000 shekel and 1,000 shekel for each additional child, although from the fourth child there is no additional payment. She said the cost of the bill is less than four million shekel since there are only 800 women in 13 shelters. She noted 748 of those women have a child or more.

MK Khenin (Hadash) explained his similar amendment would accomplish the same thing. He said the shelters are important, but the day after is just as important.

Energy and Water Minister Landau (Y.B.) expressed government support to both bills. He said the government will agree to pay up to three million shekel for the program.

The first bill passed its preliminary reading 7-0 and was sent to the Women’s Rights Committee.

The second bill passed its preliminary reading 8-0 and was sent to the Women’s Rights Committee.

—————————————————————————————————

This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s February 15, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/01024112.doc

Advertisements