The Knesset’s Tuesday session lasted about an hour and a half. The Lending Textbooks Bill was advanced after passing its first reading. Election fever was evident in the MKs’ speeches during the short day.

Non-Bills Summary

  • Speaker Rivlin greeted the Australian Senate President with a warm speech.
  • 15 MKs spoke during the one minute speech segment of the day. The main topics were early elections and Opposition Leader Livni’s resignation from Knesset.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Lending Textbooks Bill 

Minister Meridor (Likud) explained the amendment would allow each school to join the lending textbooks program after the principal holds a vote among the school children’s parents and 60% of the parents vote in favor. He said that hundreds of schools have already joined the program because the principals requested to be a part of it. He stressed the obligation on the principal to bring the matter to a parent vote will increase the number of schools enrolled in the program. He concluded that this program should be expanded.

MK Tirosh (Kadima) expressed support for Education Minister Sa’ar’s (Likud) policies over his last three years in his position on almost every issue. She said that she agreed with the intention of the bill but objected to the matter needing to go up to a vote. She announced that the program should be installed in every school outright.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) blasted the Knesset for having a light schedule and stressed the importance of finishing the Knesset’s important work before early elections are called. Speaker Rivlin agreed with Eichler. Eichler slammed Netanyahu and Liberman for calling early elections when the opposition doesn’t want them. He went on to praise the bill, while noting that the ultra-orthodox community has been lending books out to their neighbors for centuries. He finished by slamming the secular Israelis of northern Tel Aviv who are inciting against their ultra-orthodox neighbors in their local newspapers with anti-Semitic slander.

MK Zeev (Shas) slammed MK Wilf for inciting against the ultra-orthodox in the European Parliament. He also slammed the event that she held with the European Friends of Israel, in cooperation with Israel Project, where she invited them to a public conference she hosted on women’s rights in Israel. He accused her of inciting against the ultra-orthodox during that event. He said the true exclusion of women is in Kadima where they excluded a woman, Livni, and replaced her with a man, Mofaz.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) praised and supported the bill completely. He slammed the high price of textbooks and the publishers who raise the prices considerably every year. He said this bill is among the most important bills this Knesset can pass.

MK Wilf (Independence) supported the bill and stressed its importance. She recalled her short time in American public school and told her Knesset colleagues that is the model public school system. She said this program will become obsolete when everything is transferred to an electronic schoolbook system. She went on to slam Ze’ev for confronting her on the European Parliament issue on national television instead of a phone call. She defended the positions and views that she expressed there. She said that damage control was needed and that was what she did.

Minister Meridor said that the place of women in society says a lot about a democracy’s health and that equality is seen throughout Israeli society. He went on to stress the importance of the bill and asked the Knesset to vote in favor, even if it is just a step forward instead of solving the problem outright. He said electronic textbooks should be able to replace textbooks eventually.

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

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s May 1, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/02029212.doc

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