The Knesset’s Tuesday session lasted about two and a half hours. Eight bills were discussed. One bill became law after passing its third reading, and seven bills were advanced after passing their first readings. The new law expands Druze representation in public service. An interesting bill advanced allows the Israeli Chief Rabbi to run for another term.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* 12 MKs gave speeches during the one minute speech segment that opened the day. National Science Day was recognized by most of the speakers.

* A motion marking National Science Day was discussed by Science and Technology Minister Hershkowitz (J.H.) and three MKs.

* House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced which disputed bills would be discussed in which committees. The Knesset approved the decisions 10-0.

* Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) answered a query at the end of the session.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Expanding Druze Community Representation in the Public Service Bill

Justice, Law and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) explained the amendment would require expanding the Druze community’s representation in the public sector as well as in municipalities where they make up 10% or more of the population. He said Israelis owe a lot to the Druze and this bill is a way to give back to them.

MK Amar (Y.B.) thanked Rotem for helping him advance his bill that helps his Druze community. He also thanked his party, Yisrael Beitenu, for having his back and the Druze’s back.

MK Levin (Likud) thanked his co-sponsor Amar and Chairman Rotem for pushing through this bill that pays back the country’s dues to the Druze. He said the Druze deserve an identity that is separate from the Arab population.

The bill passed its second reading 9-0.

The bill passed its third reading 9-0.

Amendment to the Handicap Parking Bill

MK Gilon (Meretz) announced that 5,100 parking tickets were given to handicap licensed cars that were following the laws, as opposed to 6,100 parking tickets to violators of handicap parking laws. He said his amendment would prohibit parking tickets for handicapped licensed people who are not in violation of handicap parking laws.

The bill passed its first reading 5-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Penal Code Bill

MK Shai (Kadima) explained the amendment would extend the prohibition of doctors having sex with a patient to therapists and alternative medicine practioners as well. He said it is unacceptable that psychologists, social workers and alternative doctors are allowed to use their position to sleep with patients with no punishment.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) said that apparently there are no nationalistic crimes or terror in Israel. He accused Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) of instructing his officers to coach victims of nationalistic crimes on how to leave out certain parts of their testimony. He gave a few examples. He suggested the motives are that the government doesn’t want to give out the welfare payments nationalistic victims are entitled to but which regular victims do not receive.

MK Levin praised the bill. He said criminologists and polygraph workers should also be regulated, and every occupation should have set boundaries.

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

Amendment to the Supervision of Financial Services Bill

Interior and Environment Committee Chairman Cohen (Shas) explained the amendment would lower the percentage of management fees on provident funds from 2% to 1.05%.

MK Ben Ari supported the bill. He went on to say he is an unhappy customer of the security and defense services because there are too many rockets hitting Israel and because of the public relations briefs that are unbearable. He slammed former Prime Minister Olmert for telling the south that they should get used to occasional rockets falling in their backyards like a light shower of rain. He said he is embarrassed the Knesset isn’t protecting the south and isn’t confessing its mistake of supporting the disengagement.

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

Amendment to the Israel Lands Authority Bill

MK Khenin (Hadash) explained the amendment would ensure transparency in the land authority by forcing them to advertise their decisions on their website. He said over the last eight years only 77 of the land authority’s 2,655 decisions were released to the public. He said that the public wants to privatize the authority because it isn’t acting like a public company, which must have transparency. He said when it comes to tax money there must be a trail of what is being done with that money and how those decisions are made. He said this bill will strengthen the idea of a strong central government.

MK Ben Ari blasted the police for prohibiting his visit to Nazareth, where he was planning to protest in front of the Balad offices. He said Nazareth deserves equality- equality in income tax, equality in VAT and equality in police enforcement.

MK Zeev (Shas) supported the bill and transparency. He went on to criticize former minister Ben-Eliezer (Labor), who he said routinely made corrupt decisions as the minister in charge of the land authority and didn’t publish anything.

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

Amendment to the Checks without Cover Bill

MK Shemtov (Y.B.) explained the amendment would require the bank to inform customers of all problems on an existing account before they join it. She said there is no reason to give a full history of the bank account but a new person joining an account should know what expenses or penalties he will now be responsible for. She said the bank has an interest not to warn the new customer because they can force him to pay a lot of money if he has no clue what he is walking into.

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

Amendment to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Bill

MK Pinyan (Likud) explained the amendment would allow a Rabbi to run for re-election as Chief Rabbi of Israel. He said that for political reasons a term limit of ten years was placed on the position of Chief Rabbi of Israel and it is time that term limit is repealed.

MK Zeev recalled the political trick that forced Rabbi Ovadia Yosef out of the Chief Rabbi of Israel chair. He told them that it was that decision 30 years ago that led to Rabbi Yosef creating Shas with him. He suggested that any further attempt by politicians to interfere with Rabbis will lead to an increase in political support for those Rabbis.

The bill passed its first reading 8-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Former Captives’ Payment Bill

Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) explained the amendment would increase the pension for former captives over 80 years old by NIS 1,200 a month. He said a few hundred people would benefit from this bill.

MK Eldad (N.U.) said it is a worthy bill, and, as a son of a former captive, he finds it to be a very important ideal to support the captives in the last years of their lives.

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

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

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/01506712.doc

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