The Knesset’s Wednesday session lasted a little over seven hours. The new 26-MK opposition embarrassed Prime Minister Netanyahu as MK Ariel (N.U.) found a legal loophole that required Netanyahu to admit that Kadima will be given more than what is written in the 4-page coalition agreement. Netanyahu was forced to call for an hour recess to clarify his legal obligations in terms of what he must report. Speaker Rivlin made a memorable joke that there are more ministers than opposition members, so perhaps they should switch seats. Eight bills were discussed. Four bills were advanced after three passed their preliminary readings and one its first reading. One bill was turned into a motion, two bills were pulled to avoid defeat and one bill was defeated. One of the bills advanced will designate special parking spaces for senior citizens over the age of 75.

 

Non-Bills Summary

 

  • Homefront Security Minister Vilnai (Independence) answered two urgent queries at the beginning of the session.
  • A motion on the wave of violence during the weekend was discussed by 13 MKs and Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.). The motion was sent to the Interior Committee by a 19-0 vote.
  • The government’s request to add Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz as a minister was discussed by 33 MKs and Ministers Erdan and Begin (Likud). Mofaz was approved 71-23 and became a minister.
  • Speaker Rivlin announced that the new Opposition Leader will be Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich.
  • A motion marking 67 years since Nazi Germany’s defeat was marked by speeches from Speaker Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Opposition Leader Yachimovich, Immigration and Absorption Minister Landver (Y.B.), Hadash Chairman Barakeh and Holocaust survivor Minister Peled (Likud).

 

Bills Summary

 

Amendment to the Senior Citizens Bill

MK Gafni (U.T.J.) explained the amendment would allocate designated parking spaces in a public place for senior citizens over the age of 75. He said that elderly drivers deserve designated spots closer to the public places.

Deputy Minister Nass (Likud) expressed government support for the bill. She expressed hope this will encourage senior citizens to use their cars more frequently.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 18-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee

Amendment to the Discharged Soldiers Absorption Bill

MK Ilatov (Y.B.) explained the amendment would encourage discharged soldiers to learn engineering and technology studies. He said that the shortage of Israeli manpower in these areas is troublesome. He proposed that the solution to overcome the issue is a financial incentive from the country for discharged soldiers.

Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 20-0 and was sent to the Education Committee.

Basic Law: The Right to Housing

MK Khenin (Hadash) explained his proposed Basic Law would anchor the right of every citizen to housing into constitutional law. He said that it is the country’s responsibility to provide housing for every citizen and this will bill will accomplish that.

Education Minister Sa’ar said the government is against the bill because it wasn’t brought up to the Ministerial Committee of Legislative Affairs. He asked Khenin to consider postponing the vote on the bill for a month in order to allow him to submit the bill to the committee. Khenin agreed.

Rewarding Soldiers in Regular Service Bill

MK Peretz (Labor) explained his original bill would pay soldiers minimum wage in the last third of their service. He said that the Defense Ministry is supporting the bill and he doesn’t understand why the government is not supporting it. He said that in the spirit of the Tal Law debate, this bill should be passed.

Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) explained that Defense Minister Barak (Independence) supports the bill but the government does not support it. He suggested Peretz delay the vote for two weeks in order to reconcile the differences between Barak’s and the government’s positions. Peretz agreed.

Motion/Amendment to the Employment of Women Bill

MK Schneller (Kadima) explained the amendment would allow employees the right to be absent from work while their spouse in on reserve duty. He said that when a member of the family goes on reserve duty the entire family goes on reserve duty. He noted that the family responsibilities are divided between both parents and sometimes the spouse who is left at home can’t take on both daily task lists. He noted that most reserve soldiers only serve one week a year so the cost of the bill should not be that high. He appealed to the Finance Minister to accept his bill. He agreed to Speaker Rivlin’s request to turn the bill into a motion so it could be discussed in committee.

The motion passed 21-0 and was sent to the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee.

Amendment to the Holocaust Denial Prohibition Bill

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) explained Israeli law defines anyone who is found guilty of Holocaust denial a criminal. He said his amendment would prohibitIsraelfrom negotiating with a Holocaust denier. He confessed that this bill would preventIsraelfrom negotiating with Palestinian leader Abu Mazen. He slammed the leftists for talking about the occupation and conquest ofJudeaandSamaria. He noted that the Knesset sits on conquered land from 1948 where an Arab village once stood. He slammed MK El-Sana (R.T.) for claiming to be a Jebusite (Yevusi) and asked him to say one word in Yevusit. He went on to read Abu Mazen’s doctorate paper on Holocaust denial.

Education Minister Sa’ar said that there is a lot of truth in Ben Ari’s words but the bill he has presented does not enjoy government support. He explained that the government does not see a reason to support this bill because it limits the government’s flexibility and has legal loopholes.

MK Ben Ari confessed he is not a legal expert. He said that common sense would lead normal people to support his bill in principle and work out the details in committee. He went on to criticize the Likud for acting suicidal.

The bill was defeated 4-22.

Authorized Engineers and Technicians Bill

MK Haim Katz (Likud) announced the original bill would regulate the studies and work rules of engineers and technicians.

The bill passed its first reading 24-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Amendment to the Courts Bill

MK Abesadze (Kadima) explained her amendment would highlight the public debate on domestic violence charges by allowing domestic abuse cases to be tried in open hearings.

Education Minister Sa’ar expressed government support for the bill but added that the courts will be given the flexibility to decide which cases will be closed.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 21-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

________________________________________________________________

This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’sMay 9, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/02221012.doc

Advertisements