The Knesset’s Tuesday session lasted less than two hours. Four bills were discussed and advanced after passing their first readings. The day was originally meant to be longer, since it was the second to last day before the spring break. Most of the bills meant for the day were either voted on the night before or postponed to the following day so the MKs could have a short day between two busy days. The bills advanced put financial sanctions on owners of pets that are not neutered, present the right to minors to have a relationship with their grandparents in the case of a divorce, authorize the political parties to access party members’ information before a primary, and force banks to offer large print documents to help senior citizens.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • 16 MKs gave speeches during the one minute segment      that opened the day. The topics were divided between the previous late      night’s bills and the MKs’ plans for the 39-day recess.
  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced a      long list of disputed bills and which committees will discuss them.

 

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Control of Dogs Regulation Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) started by boasting some of his previous accomplishments that had nothing to do with the bill. He explained the amendment would raise the fee for the renewal of a license to hold an animal that is not castrated or sterilized to 300 shekels more than for a neutered animal. He expressed hope this bill would lower the number of stray animals that die a painful death in poor weather conditions.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) said that neutering animals is against Jewish law and demanded that a religious observation clause be included to exempt those who don’t neuter their animals for religious reasons. He went on to say that cruelty towards animals needs to be resolved but we must remember that animals are not more important than people. He went on to slam the latest Planning and Building Bill that he said is discriminating against the ultra-orthodox.

MK Zeev (Shas) said that protecting animals from cruelty is important, but neutering animals is against the Torah and Jewish law. He said that the ultra-orthodox MKs voted against this bill in its preliminary reading and called on all of the religious MKs to vote against the bill this time too.

MK Orlev said that as a religious person he sees no problem with this bill. He said that raising the fees on people who don’t neuter is not the same as forcing them to neuter.

The bill passed its first reading 4-2 with one MK abstaining and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Legal Capacity and Guardianship Bill

MK Orlev explained his amendment would maintain legally the relationship between minors and their grandparents even after a divorce. He said minors should be allowed the right to see their grandparents and this bill will accomplish it.

MK Eichler said he was worried this bill would allow grandparents the power to take control of the minor over the parents. He said he was also worried this bill would tell the Rabbinical Courts what to do. He said that grandparents deserve to be a part of the educational process and this is a Jewish custom we have seen since Abraham.

MK Zeev said grandparents are very important to the child. He also said the act of taking minors out of their homes and away from their parents is unacceptable. He said that the courts get it wrong in most of these cases. He listed a few of them.

MK Levin (Likud) said the rule should be the grandparents have a relationship with their grandchildren and said this bill that he co-sponsored provides the minor one of his most basic rights.

The bill passed its first reading 7-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Parties Bill

House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) explained the amendment would authorize the transfer to political parties the details on party members’ identities from the Interior Ministry’s population registry. He said that people have used the current loophole to vote in every party’s primary because the parties only receive updates from the population registry before general elections. He stated this change will put an end to a lot of the current issues with primary corruption as well as dealing with young voters who are not on certain lists and changes of address.

MK Zeev said this bill gives more power to the voting contractors, harms private identity and proves why the primary election process is corrupt.

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

Amendment to the Banking Bill

MK Amar (Y.B.) explained the customer service amendment would include a provision that requires a bank to provide information on customer fees in large print to help senior citizens read it.

MK Zeev said that it isn’t just senior citizens who don’t understand the small print, it is the entire population. He slammed bank fees. He said that even some accountants and bank employees don’t understand all of the bank fees.

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

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

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/01642612.doc

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