The Knesset’s Monday session lasted close to six hours. 13 bills were discussed. Eight bills became law after passing their third readings, and five bills were advanced after passing their first readings. The weekly no-confidence motions were defeated. The bills covered a wide range of issues.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* Kadima’s no-confidence motion titled ‘The failure of the Netanyahu government in preparing for home front emergency’ was defeated 31-50 with 39 MKs not present.

* Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The government’s fiasco in dealing with poverty, deepening and widening gaps in Israeli society’ was defeated 34-50 with 36 MKs not present.

* Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘Muslim Waqf properties in Israel’ was defeated 11-58 with 8 MKs abstaining and 43 MKs not present.

* Funds Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) announced his committee’s decision to split a bill into two, which was approved 4-0.  He also announced his committee’s decision to correct a technical issue in an existing bill. It was approved 11-0 with one MK abstaining.

* Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) announced his committee’s decision to split a bill into two. It was approved 6-0.

* Religious Affairs Minister Margi (Shas) answered a query at the end of the session.

Bills Summary

 

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz (Likud) explained the amendment would repeal the requirement that social security needs to pay in case of error within three years. He said the new amendment requires the social security office to pay up within a year of receiving all the necessary information from the person in question. He added there will be a 1% interest assessed for every month they are late with the payment.

The bill passed its second reading 46-0.

The bill passed its third reading 38-1.

Amendment to the Implementing an Economic Change in Fiscal Priorities in the 2012 Budget and to Finance Social Change Bill

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) explained the amendment would postpone the increase in child allowance for families of two to four children that was supposed to take place in April 2012 for one year until April 2013. He explained the NIS 1.5 billion for the program will go towards the government’s plan to provide free nursery and pre-nursery for children three and older.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) slammed the priorities of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Chuldai, who he said is spending his tax paying shekels on Sudanese illegal immigrants instead of funding the police force that fights them. He noted police reports on illegals’ crimes of sexual assault and harassment, rape, burglaries and murders. He slammed the Tel Aviv mayor’s plans to keep the Sudanese on the south side of the city and told the rich north-siders to stop their selective mercy for the illegals.

MK Molla (Kadima) slammed Ben Ari for spreading hatred towards the illegals. He got into a shouting match with Ben Ari. Deputy Speaker Edery (Kadima) called Ben Ari to order and threatened to throw him out. Molla went on to slam the government for not answering the social justice protesters.

MK Horowitz (Meretz) mocked the postponement of the seven shekel raise. He went on to praise Germany for their low rent, low prices in supermarkets and high salaries. He said that it makes sense for a lot of Israelis to move to Europe and have a better life than they can in Israel. He called on the Knesset to oppose the bill.

MK Whbee (Kadima) called on the MKs to oppose the bill. He went on to slam the ultra-orthodox students who entered a sacred Druze burial site with their shoes on and danced. He condemned the ultra-orthodox yeshiva students and said they did not act like religious people.

MK Sheetrit (Likud) said there was no purpose to the social justice movement because it failed. He said child allowances should be raised, not frozen. He said the top 10% of Israelis got a raise of 150% over the last decade and the average Israeli got a raise of 4%. He said the poor parents deserve a raise of 7 shekels. He questioned Shas’ motives for supporting this bill.

MK Zeev (Shas) said that saving families NIS 700 instead of giving them NIS 7 is very simple. He said parents prefer free school for 3 and 4 year olds instead of 7 shekels in child allowances. He said those who oppose the bill are cynics. He slammed Kadima for lowering the child allowances hundreds of shekels when they were in power. He slammed Yisrael Beitenu for trying to hurt the 60,000 families who don’t make a living and live off the government. He told the opposition not to preach unless they check their own house first.

MK Khenin (Hadash) said the bill is an embarrassment. He said the government has decided to move the money around as opposed to adding money to the budget. He said this isn’t a serious bill and shows another policy flaw with Israel’s settlement and warmongering system.

Finance Minister Steinitz (Likud) said the point of this bill is to allow the government to meet the recommendations of the Trachtenberg committee that cost a lot of money but is worth gold. He called on the opposition to praise the government for providing free education starting from age 3 and for making the school day longer in public schools. He said that overall the parents are getting a good deal. They are postponing a seven shekel raise for one year and saving money on education. He said that the government is not embarrassed; rather, they are proud. He noted that earlier in the term the government helped the poor by raising the minimum wage and increasing the child allowances. He praised Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) for his three reforms in higher education, high schools and a free public system from the age of 3. He said the ends justify the means. He concluded by defending his policy and his bill.

The bill passed its first reading 32-15 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.

Amendment to the Real Estate Tax Bill

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen explained his amendment would change the court of appeals for cases of real estate capital gains and acquisition taxes. He said the change will prohibit non-judges from sitting on appeals for these cases. He noted there has been conflict of interest when certain lawyers are on the court of appeals.

MK Khenin said that he has spent two years discussing in committee the reform in planning and building. He blasted the way the committee meetings were held and its conclusions.

The bill passed its first reading 14-0 with one MK abstaining and was sent to the Funds Committee.

Amendment to the Companies Bill

Deputy Prime Minister Shalom explained the amendment would update public benefit foundation provisions regarding their executives. He said the bill will ensure transparency and create three funds that will help the public on a wide range of issues.

MK Zeev said that he agrees that most of fundraising should not be used on managers’ salaries. He said the provisions should allow the money to be spent on the day to day running of the companies.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) said the bill is bad because it doesn’t really bring any transparency to the companies. He slammed Israel for stealing Palestinian money and property. He said the country isn’t a democracy.

The bill passed its first reading 15-1 with 2 MKs abstaining and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Dividing Pension Savings between a Separated Couple Bill

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen said the bill is very complicated and should be discussed in committee. He said solutions for dividing pension savings between a couple that separate are important and should be discussed in committee.

MK Gal-On (Meretz) thanked the government for the bill and expressed her support. She said it is a social justice bill that takes a man’s pension and splits it to allow the woman to take a big share. She stated the bill will help hundreds of thousands of women. She said it is unacceptable that everything can be split into two during a divorce except for the pension and this bill fixes the problem. She said new wives were benefiting from what should have gone towards the previous wife.

MK Herzog (Labor) praised the bill, which he said will bring social justice to women.

MK Zeev said this bill is too far reaching and allows separated couples to have the same rights as divorced couples. He also said this bill encourages divorce and he can’t vote for it.

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

Amendment to the Municipal Taxes and Government Taxes Ordinance Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the bill would present city tax exemptions to the 120 factories that employ disabled and mentally challenged people. He said it is our moral responsibility to help these factories. He went on to thank the Knesset for agreeing to support his bill.

The bill passed its second reading 11-0.

The bill passed its third reading 11-0.

Amendment to the Women’s Labor Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz thanked MK Levi-Abekasis for her bill and went on to praise her for a few minutes. He explained the amendment would allow maternity leave to be extended for up to another ten weeks if the baby spends extensive time in the hospital after birth. He said women need to know the country supports them in their hardship. He concluded this bill will be retroactive.

The bill passed its second reading 13-0.

The bill passed its third reading 13-0.

MK Levi-Abekasis (Y.B.) thanked the Knesset for approving her bill. She thanked Chairman Katz and her fellow committee members. She also thanked her parliamentary assistants.

 

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the amendment would allow a veteran an extension of time to work in preferred work in cases where they serve reserve duty. He concluded that the bill will be retroactive.

The bill passed its second reading 12-0.

The bill passed its third reading 10-0.

MK Bibi (Kadima) thanked the Knesset for approving his bill. He said this is the least we can do. He slammed the previous policy of counting reserve duty days against the time a solider must meet in order to receive his preferred work fund. He thanked his assistants and his 41 volunteers.

Amendment to the Severance Pay Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the amendment would allow a full compensation package to a young person who takes a year off after high school and before army to volunteer in recognized places by the government when they quit their job in order to volunteer.

The bill passed its second reading 12-0.

The bill passed its third reading 11-0.

MK Shai (Kadima) thanked the Knesset for approving his bill. He said this bill brings social justice to Israel and supports a just cause. He said the youth who decide to give back to their communities must be supported. He thanked his assistants.

Prohibition on Receipt of Securities Processed Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz noted this is the 95th bill his committee has brought forth to be approved in their second and third readings. He explained the amendment would prohibit guarantees of securities. He stated there are conflict of interest issues in the receipts and guarantees and it must be abolished. He said it is a very complicated issue but there are no objections on the bill.

The bill passed its second reading 13-0.

The bill passed its third reading 13-0.

MK Khenin thanked the Knesset for approving his bill. He thanked Chairman Katz and thanked the Knesset for approving 95 great ideas from Katz’s committee. He said this is a bill to be proud of.

MK Yachimovich (Labor) thanked the Knesset for approving her bill. She said that she is waiting for the 100th committee bill. She said it took four years to pass this bill and now it is a reality.

Amendment to the Agency Contract Bill

Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) thanked MK Alex Miller for his bill and said he truly is Alexander the great. He explained the amendment would require commercial agents and suppliers to meet European standards. He said this bill will help Israeli companies trade with European companies and stay protected on both ends of the deal. He said the sides can sign contracts that would exempt them from certain parts of the bill. He noted the bill also deals with breaches of contract and compensation.

The bill passed its second reading 9-0.

The bill passed its third reading 9-0.

MK Miller (Y.B.) thanked the Knesset for approving his bill. He thanked Chairman Shama for pushing through an important bill that Chairman Akunis failed to pass. He said this bill brings order and protection to Israeli companies abroad. He thanked his staff for helping him with the bill.

Amendment to the Memorial Day in Israel Bill

Education, Culture and Sport Committee Chairman Miller (Y.B.) explained the amendment would prohibit collecting an entrance fee for Memorial Day services and events. He slammed those who tried to make money off the families of fallen heroes last year and told them this year it will be forbidden. He said the time has come to put an end to making money off mourning families. He noted that Matalon was once the chairman of handicapped soldiers and veterans.

The bill passed its second reading 10-0.

The bill passed its third reading 10-0.

MK Matalon (Y.B.) thanked the Knesset for approving his bill. He thanked Chairman Miller for pushing through this bill quickly and in time for this year’s Memorial Day. He said this is a Zionistic bill. He thanked his staff. He said no one will be able to take money from mourning families again.

Amendment to the Welfare Services Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained the amendment would change the composition of welfare appeal committees and the appeal process of their decisions. She explained the appeal committee will have three members: a social worker, a judge and a jurist. She said that 10,000 children were removed from their families over the last decade and a broken appeal process prevented families from getting their children back.

MK Ben Ari supported the bill. He went on to slam social workers for selectively choosing which people they give services to and which people don’t deserve
their services. He charged there are many fakers that get social workers and those who really need it, don’t get it. He blasted commercials that offer to tweak the system to give fakers additional money.

MK Zeev said he disagrees with the bill because it takes away one of the jurists and replaces it with a judge. He said additionally, there is no local authority representation in the committee. He slammed social workers for being too quick to take the children away from the parents. He also blasted decisions that prevent parents from seeing their children after they lose them. He also slammed the fines on parents who try to win their children back. He told the judges to show mercy every once in a while.

The bill passed its first reading 6-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s February 20, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/01097312.doc

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