The Knesset’s Monday session lasted about five hours. Eight bills were discussed. Three bills became law after passing their third readings, and five bills were advanced after passing their first readings. The highlight bills were those advanced on increased Israeli sanctions on Iran and raising the age of marriage to 18.
- Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘Instead of promoting social justice, the government is promoting attacks on social protest, screaming against whole populations, wasting money in settlements and conducting dangerous military adventures’ was defeated 15-57.
- Labor and Meretz’s joint no-confidence motion titled ‘The government’s blatant attempt to silence and restrain social protest’ was defeated 15-57.
- A special session in honor of recently deceased Kadima MK Gideon Ezra was conducted with speeches from Speaker Rivlin, Deputy Prime Minister Mofaz (Kadima), Deputy Prime Minister Ya’alon (Likud) and MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima).
- Speaker Rivlin greeted the Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara with a warm speech.
- Minister Nahari announced the government’s request to transfer certain powers from Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) to Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.). MK Khenin (Hadash) voiced his opposition. The Knesset approved the transfer 16-1 with one MK abstaining.
- Appropriations Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) announced his committee’s request to split a bill into two. It was approved 11-0.
Amendment to the Israel Defense Forces Service Bill
Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Haim Katz (Likud) explained for close to an hour the complicated amendment that will revamp the entire IDF pension system. He expressed regret that he was not able to get as much as he wanted into the final draft but stressed this is a big improvement for career soldiers.
The bill passed its second reading 32-0.
The bill passed its third reading 33-0.
Struggle against Iran’s Nuclear Program Bill
Deputy Prime Minister Ya’alon (Likud) explained the government’s original bill would place crimpling sanctions on all companies and individuals that do business with Iran. He stressed the importance of Israel having the type of sanctions within their own home that they request other world powers to have.
MK Barakeh (Hadash) called Israel hypocrites for passing this law since Israel is the one with nuclear weapons and is the country that is a danger to peace in the Middle East. He expressed his support for Iran and their nuclear program. He said the Iran agenda is meant to distract the public from the Palestinian process. He called the bill hypocritical, cynical and useless.
MK Khenin (Hadash) slammed the government for the bill and its policy, which he called extreme, adventurous, irresponsible and dangerous. He said that his vote against this bill is a vote against Israeli policy on Iran, which he called suicidal. He called for peace negotiations with Iran that will put an end to both countries’ nuclear programs.
MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) slammed Khenin and Barakeh. He asked them who they are trying to protect. He said there is no connection at all between the need for peace with the Palestinians and the need to protect ourselves from Iran. He noted the terror organizations that are funded by Iran. He said Iran with a nuke will not bring about peace and is a threat to Israel. He expressed his support for the bill.
MK Molla (Kadima) said that Israel should not lead the fight against Iran and should let the United States and the international community lead. He said that sanctions are important everywhere, so he will be happy to support the bill. He noted Israel has no problem with Iranian people, just their leadership.
MK Miller (Y.B.) said he isn’t surprised to see the Arabs MKs come out against this bill because it puts an end to the funding of their friends in Hamas and Hezbollah. He slammed them for supporting terrorists and for being silent on Syria.
Deputy Prime Minister Ya’alon got up to say the MKs do not understand the importance of passing this bill and that it is essential to pass it.
The bill passed its first reading 21-3 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.
Amendment to the Standard Contracts Bill
Deputy Prime Minister Ya’alon explained the amendment would change all standard contracts so that both sides are protected in various instances that are not included in the current standard contract laws.
The bill passed its first reading 15-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.
Amendment to the Fallen Soldiers’ Families Bill
Deputy Prime Minister Ya’alon explained the amendment increases the benefit package for families of fallen soldiers in terms of pensions and their rehabilitation, as well as other areas.
MK Haim Katz said that there are many issues with this bill and he looks forward to making a lot of changes in committee.
MK Matalon (Y.B.) also complained about the many issues he had with the bill and asked that the committee completely revamp it.
The bill passed its first reading 12-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.
Amendment to the Municipal Taxes and Government Taxes Ordinance Bill
Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the amendment would grant municipal tax exemptions to institutions that help disabled people.
The bill passed its second reading 11-0.
The bill passed its third readings 11-0.
MK Khenin thanked the Knesset for approving his bill.
Amendment to the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Bill
MK Gilon (Meretz) explained the amendment will force the government to implement all of the previous decisions that are written in the law and have been delayed for years. He noted there are some additional changes as well.
The bill passed its second reading 11-0.
The bill passed its third reading 8-0.
Preventing Violence against Social Workers Bill
Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Katz explained the original bill would create a new criminal offense of attacking a social worker. He said the decision on the punishment will be decided in committee.
MK Agbaria (Hadash) expressed his support for the bill. He spoke out against violence against all government service workers and said the attackers must be brought to justice.
MK Molla supported what he called an excellent bill. He echoed the speeches by Katz and Agbaria, saying that violence against social workers is a crime and offenders must be punished.
MK Zeev (Shas) said that social workers should not get special treatment. He stated that this bill should include all government workers and should not single out social workers. He was heckled by some MKs and shouted back to them that everyone should be protected from violence, not just social workers.
The bill passed its first reading 10-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.
Amendment to the Age of Marriage Bill
House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) explained the amendment would raise the age of marriage to 18. He stressed the importance of this bill and how this will save so many minors from being forced into marriage. He noted that today over 70% of those who marry under 18 are not Jewish. He noted that in some countries the age of marriage is higher, such as 20 in Iraq, and that there are very few countries that allow marriage under 18.
MK Khenin was interrupted by MK Gal-On who complained that every time Deputy Speaker Barakeh is on the Speaker’s chair the room becomes very cold. MK Barakeh was not happy with Gal-On’s words until she clarified she was talking about the strong air conditioning in the room. Khenin went on to praise the bill and express his support for the exceptions in the bill.
Deputy Minister Gamliel (Likud) expressed government support for the bill and called it a win for feminism. She said that the annual number of over 4,000 minors getting married every year is troubling, especially since the number is growing.
MK Barakeh noted that he has been trying to pass this bill for years and is happy the government finally came around to supporting it.
MK Gal-On (Meretz) expressed her support and said that we must close all loopholes so that minors don’t marry before 18.
MK Zahalka (Balad) noted that his mother got married and had him at age 16. Zeev pointed out that this bill would have prevented Zahalka from being born. Zahalka responded that he has mixed feelings on the subject, yet feels strongly about supporting this bill.
MK Zeev said the ultra-orthodox get married at 16-17 and this bill is part of the agenda to limit the demographic concern of the Israeli public about the increase in ultra-orthodox Jewish and Arab births. He slammed the government agenda and called the Arabs suckers for falling for it. He noted that in the United States you can get married at 16 if both parents agree and slammed Israel for trying to have a more severe law. He noted that in Japan the age of marriage for men is 20 and the age for women is 16. He listed that Scotland is 16, Turkey is 17, and the Vatican follows the United States’ parental acceptance clause.
The bill passed its first reading 8-1-1 and was sent to the Justice Committee.
This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s June 18, 2012, session.
Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/02963912.doc