The Knesset’s Monday session started at 4 PM and ended at 2:51 AM. When the Knesset convened it was going to call for early elections to take place September 4, 2012. By the end of the night it was clear that a new Likud-Kadima coalition agreement would call off the move for early elections, pushing elections back to their original date of October 22, 2013. Fifteen bills were discussed. Fourteen bills became law after passing their third readings, and one bill was advanced after passing its first reading. Some interesting laws passed in the middle of the night when new elections were knocking at the door.

 

Non-Bills Summary

  • Kadima’s no-confidence motion was defeated 44-63 with one MK abstaining. Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion was defeated 41-65 with one MK abstaining. Labor’s no-confidence motion was defeated 47-62 with one MK abstaining. National Union’s no-confidence motion was defeated 6-62 with 23 MKs abstaining.
  • New Kadima MK Yuval Zellner was sworn in, taking former Kadima MK Tzipi Livni’s place.
  • Herzl Day was marked by speeches from Speaker Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Mofaz.
  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced which disputed bills will be discussed in which committees.
  • Bills calling for new elections were submitted by Minister Erdan (Likud) and nine other MKs. This led to a long discussion that provided the opportunity for campaign speeches. At the end of the discussion Erdan’s bill was passed in its first reading 109-1 (Labor MK Majadele opposed) with ten MKs not present for the vote. The other bills passed their preliminary readings 100-2, 87-3, 96-2-1, 101-2-1, 91-2-1, 86-3-1, 101-2-1, 72-4-2 and 96-2-2.

Bills Summary 

Medical Equipment Bill

MK Eldad (N.U.) explained that this original bill has been in works for 16 years. He explained the bill regulates and places government supervision on all medical equipment used in all government medical institutions. He noted that institution personnel who do not comply will be subject to 6 months to 3 years of jail time

The bill passed its second reading 17-0.

The bill passed its third reading 22-0.

Amendment to the Terms of Probation Bill

Law, Justice and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) explained the amendment would update the appeals committee makeup for life sentence security prisoners to match the committee for non-security prisoners.

The bill passed its second reading 16-0.

The bill passed its third reading 19-0.

Amendment to the Money Laundering Prohibition Bill

Law, Justice and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem explained the amendment would update Israel’s money laundering regulations to meet recently signed international agreements on the subject.

The bill passed its second reading 12-0.

The bill passed its third reading 15-0.

Amendment to the Lending Textbooks Bill

Education, Culture and Sport Committee Chairman Miller (Y.B.) explained the amendment would require principals to conduct a vote of school children’s parents on joining the lending textbooks program. He said that if 60% of parents want to join the program, the principal will be forced to join it.

The bill passed its second reading 17-0.

The bill passed its third reading 20-0.

Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) thanked Miller for passing the bill during the last week of Knesset as fast as possible.

Amendment to the Antitrust Bill

Finance Committee Chairman Shama (Likud) explained the amendment would increase the authority of the government’s antitrust bodies in order to increase the enforcement of existing laws.

The bill passed its second reading 15-0.

The bill passed its third reading 15-0.

Amendment to the Prison Ordinance Bill

Interior and Environment Committee Chairman Cohen (Shas) explained the amendment regulates the rights of prisoners. He said this bill costs a lot of money and significantly raises prisoners’ quality of life both during their stay in jail and their rehabilitation afterwards. He said that this is an historic day that will be remembered as a holiday for prisoners today and for the years to come.

The bill passed its second reading 16-0.

The bill passed its third reading 14-0.

MK Khenin (Hadash) thanked Cohen for helping him reform the way the government views prisoners. He also thanked a long list of government workers who helped him advance and pass this bill. He said this bill will be remembered as the most democratic, revolutionary and progressive bill that the 18th Knesset has passed. He expressed his support for the security prisoners that are hunger striking.

Amendment to the Checks without Cover Bill

Law, Justice and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem explained the amendment would require the bank to provide someone joining an existing bank account all of the information about the account. He said this way people won’t fall victim to business scams or be tricked by loved ones.

The bill passed its second reading 10-0.

The bill passed its third reading 9-0.

MK Shemtov (Y.B.) thanked Rotem for passing the bill before early elections. She thanked other Yisrael Beitenu MKs for helping her advance the bill.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

MK Eldad explained the amendment would cut social security payments in half to terrorists who were sentenced to ten years or more and will also harm their families’ rights to inheritance of that money.

MK Rotem said that although the 50% reduction is positive, Israel remains a sucker because they will still be giving the terrorists the other 50%.

The bill passed its second reading 13-0.

The bill passed its third reading 10-0.

Amendment to the Nazi Persecution and Nazi War Invalids Bill

Appropriations Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) said this bill was submitted in 1999 and has been delayed each year. He explained the bill would increase the Holocaust era handicap pensions. He said 23,219 people would receive the increase, and the cost will stand at 100 million shekels annually. He noted that the gradual payment increases are based on criteria that will give some people more and some less.

MK Solodkin (Kadima) said that she has proposed many bills in the last three years on this subject and was told each time that there was no money. She thanked the government for wising up at the last minute and giving 100 million shekels to a just cause.

MK Shemtov thanked Gafni for making sure that there will be Russian war veterans enjoying some of the 100 million shekels as well.

The bill passed its second reading 31-0.

The bill passed its third reading 28-0.

Amendment to the Mandatory Tenders Bill

Law, Justice and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem explained the amendment would ensure that government tenders do not discriminate against employees over the age of 40.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) asked the Knesset approve his ministry’s objection.

The bill’s paragraphs passed their second readings 22-0, 12-4, 24-0 and 19-0.

The Finance Minister’s objection was approved 18-5.

The bill passed its third reading 18-0.

MK Bielski (Kadima) thanked the Knesset for approving the bill that will help older people overcome discrimination and get jobs.

Amendment to the Mines Ordinance Bill

Finance Committee Chairman Shama announced that he can confirm the hallway chatter and rumors. He said that a national unity government with Kadima is imminent and a Likud faction meeting in 20 minutes should confirm the rumors. He explained that the bill will increase the punishment of those who mine materials illegally to five years in jail and a fine of close to one million shekels.

The bill’s paragraphs passed their second readings 11-0, 10-1 and 12-0.

The bill passed its third reading 10-0.

MK Ariel (N.U.) thanked Shama for passing the bill swiftly and the Knesset for approving his bill.

Amendment to the Aviation Services Bill

Speaker Rivlin announced that the Knesset will continue to discuss the bills on the agenda, despite the rumors of a new national unity government. Rivlin said that if the Knesset’s parties ask him to close the session without passing all 45 bills on the agenda, he will allow it.

Finance Committee Chairman Shama explained the amendment would grant compensation and assistance for flight cancellation or modification of the terms. He said that if a ticket is cancelled or delayed by an airline the airline should compensate the customer. He said that this bill would meet the European standards for flight cancellation compensation. He said this consumer protection bill is very important. He thanked and praised MK Tibi.

The bill’s paragraphs passed their second readings 16-0, 18-0, 19-0 and 19-0.

MK Tibi’s objection was accepted 15-0.

Justice Minister Neeman’s objection was defeated 1-18.

The bill passed its third reading 19-0.

Chairman Shama said this was the most complicated bill that his committee has discussed and it took hundreds of hours to prepare.

Speaker Rivlin told Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) and the opposition MKs that he cannot close the Knesset session unless he receives a request to do so. He stressed that he had not yet been informed if early elections had been cancelled and there still had not been any public statement.

MK Tibi (R.T.) said that he is very emotional and pleased to have this bill become law. He said that although he has ideological differences with Shama he views him as a man of professional integrity. He noted the three and a half years of discussions, including a twelve hour discussion chaired by Shama. He slammed the previous Finance Chairman Akunis for holding up the bill for political reasons. He expressed his pride in the bill.

Speaker Rivlin praised Tibi for the bill.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Gafni asked Speaker Rivlin if the rest of the Knesset’s agenda could be pushed off to the next day because of the late hour. He noted that the apparent unprecedented political trick could be discussed the next day as well, but the rush to finish the long agenda before the Knesset dissolves itself is pointless.

Speaker Rivlin said the drama that is unfolding is not official and there is still a chance it will fall apart before anything is announced or signed. He noted that the bill calling for early elections had been approved in the committee without any objections for its second and third readings. He said that the agenda’s important bills should be pushed through just in case early elections are called at the last minute.

Amendment to the Israel Defense Forces Pensions Bill

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) explained the amendment would increase the pensions for the military. He said that there will be retroactive aspects of the bill as far back as 2008, and families of deceased veterans will receive the retroactive benefits.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) praised the bill. He called for increasing military benefits and turning the military into a volunteer army, freeing the military from taking every citizen. He slammed journalist Yoram London for his statement that Israel should reduce the ultra-orthodox Jewish population in Israel. He asked what would have happened in Europe if someone said that against the Muslim population. He slammed Kadima for joining the government in order to continue incitement against the ultra-orthodox.

MK Regev (Likud) supported the bill and called it justice for the 40,000 soldier families. She said that Eichler’s speech has nothing to do with this bill. She stressed the importance of ultra-orthodox and non-Jews serving the country.

The bill passed its first reading 18-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

Speaker Rivlin announced that the government and the coalition have agreed to pull most of the bills left on the day’s agenda. He said the MKs who chose not to pull their bills will be given the chance to present it to the plenum for a vote. He said that the Knesset’s early election bill was sent back for a revision, and since there is no date dictated on when to discuss the bill, he will end the session after the bills left on the agenda are finished being presented.

Amendment to the Banking Bill

MK Eichler announced the amendment is a customer service bill that forces the bank to send a bank fee transaction list to each customer every six months. He added that the bill will prohibit writing bank fees in smaller font than the rest of the piece of paper.

The bill passed its second reading 17-0.

The bill passed its third reading 16-0.

Amendment to the Israel Lands Authority Bill

MK Eichler explained the amendment will increase the transparency of the authority by requiring them to upload decisions to their official internet page.

The bill passed its second reading 15-0.

The bill passed its third reading 15-0.

MK Khenin thanked the Knesset for approving another one of his self-described revolutionary bills. He noted that 99% of the authority’s decisions have not been publicized anywhere.

Speaker Rivlin announced that the rest of the bills had been withdrawn. He said that the Knesset will reconvene in 13 hours at 4 PM.

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s May 7, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/02187112.doc

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