Tag Archive: deputy health minister


The Knesset’s Wednesday session lasted about seven hours. Fourteen bills were discussed. One bill became law after passing its third reading, and two bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings. One bill was turned into a motion, two bills were not brought to a vote in order to avoid defeat and eight bills were defeated. The day was filled with election fever as the opposition proposed bills with little chance of advancing.

 

Non-Bills Summary

 

  • Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) and Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.
  • Speaker Rivlin greeted the visiting European Parliament members.
  • Five motions were discussed on the hot news issues of the week. Three were sent to committee by the votes of 10-2, 9-0 and 6-1. The other two motions were defeated 6-6 and 2-3.

 

Bills Summary

 

Amendment to the Defamation Bill

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) slammed Likud and Liberman for trying to call early elections and their attempts to raise the threshold. He explained his amendment would add belonging to a social group under the Defamation Bill.  Eichler pulled the bill before voting in order to avoid defeat.

Amendment to the Consumer Protection Bill

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) explained his amendment would prohibit conditional commitment transactions for a fixed period of time. He said that this bill targets gym memberships that severely harm consumer protection. He told the gyms that this bill would force them to give monthly rates as opposed to yearly rates and will increase competition.

Minister Nahari (Shas) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 23-0 and was sent to the Education, Culture and Sport Committee.

Amendment to the Planning and Building Bill

MK Michaeli (Shas) explained his amendment would prohibit the demolition or the change of a structure of religious importance. He stressed the importance of prohibiting the rezoning of religious buildings such as synagogues to maintain their holiness. He talked about a synagogue in Tel Aviv that was built in 1920 and a person who recently bought it and knocked it down to build high-rise residential buildings. He asked how the Jewish state could allow Jewish structures to be demolished under Israeli law.

Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) expressed government support for what he called a very important bill that would match Israeli law with most western countries. He warned that those who vote against this bill would be voting against religious rights.

MK Horowitz (Meretz) opposed the bill and charged this is a bill that will give Shas the power to prevent the destruction of any building they decide is a religious building. He called this bill extortion and illogical. He suggested this bill would also apply to Judea and Samaria. He stated the current law must be upheld.

 

MK Michaeli said election fever has turned the most logical bills into political ammunition. He stressed that this bill won’t be applied to Judea and Samaria. He noted this bill will protect churches and mosques as well and he couldn’t understand how this is Shas extortion.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 49-13 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Two Amendments to the Social Security Bill

MK Herzog (Labor) explained his amendment would give those sexually assaulted at work social security payment benefits equal to those injured at work. He said that sexual assault is equal to if not worse than physical injuries and women should receive the same benefits.

MK Gal-On (Meretz) explained her similar amendment would accomplish the same thing. She said that women don’t come forward about sexual assault because they don’t want to lose their job and this bill will encourage them to do so.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) said that those who are sexually assaulted at work should be protected and the law does protect them as it does all sexually assaulted women. He stated that those physically injured during their course of employment are entitled to different benefits and there is no reason to mix the two. He said that the government opposes the bill because this is something that already exists, and this bill is purely politically motivated.

MK Gal-On said that these bills are meant to increase the money given to sexually assaulted women in order to encourage them to report the incident to the proper authorities.

The first bill was defeated 21-31.

The second bill was defeated 19-31.

Two Amendments to the Value Added Tax Bill

MK Molla (Kadima) said there are many poor people in Israel, and it is the government’s responsibility to take care of them. He explained his amendment would place a zero rate tax on basic food products. He said he feels Israel needs to become a welfare state and that he isn’t embarrassed by that view. He stated that he isn’t a communist, but he isn’t a capitalist either.

MK Horowitz said that indirect taxes are bad and his party is against all of them, including VAT. He said indirect taxes are discriminatory against the poor and help the rich. He said that as a proud socialist he feels that tax exemptions on basic food items are the government’s responsibility, as is strong government supervision. He said the disparity between the high cost of living and the low salaries is unbearable. He slammed the capitalistic economic policy of the government.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) said that indirect taxes like the VAT are an equal tax on both the rich and the poor. He said that all items have a VAT, and the beginning of VAT exemptions will open the floodgates, crashing the VAT system. He warned that this bill would cost 6 billion shekels each year, and the government opposes the bills for this reason.

MK Molla said that he isn’t looking to exempt everything from VAT but insisted that many items should be exempt.

The first bill was defeated 17-32.

The second bill was defeated 17-32.

Amendment to the Real Estate Tax Bill

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) said there are 146,000 empty “ghost” apartments in Israel that are owned by foreigners who don’t live in them. He said that his bill will encourage them to sell these apartments. He explained his amendment would eliminate the exemption from capital gains tax for nonresidents. He said that by doing this the apartments will no longer be a sound financial investment and they will sell their assets. He said there are 20,000 empty apartments in Tel Aviv, 14,000 in Haifa, 10,000 in Jerusalem, 1,720 in Be’er Sheva, 1,423 in Petah Tikva, 1,114  in Holon, 1,122 in Ramat Gan, 1,070 in Ashkelon, 958 in Tiberias and 902 Rishon Le’Tzion. He noted that in England the government takes away foreigners’ homes in London and sells them off. He noted this bill will increase taxes on foreigners by 3 billion shekels annually, and that money will be invested domestically. He slammed the government for opposing a bill that would lower prices in the housing market.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen praised this bill as another financially smart Sheetrit bill from a previous Finance Minister. He said the government opposes the bill because it will cause Israel to violate certain signed international treaties and because it lacks exemptions for nonresidents who plan to immigrate to Israel in the future. He suggested turning the bill into a motion in order to discuss the idea more and to find loopholes that will provide a well-rounded solution.

MK Sheetrit thanked Cohen for supporting his bill and expressed understanding that Cohen is just the messenger. He insisted his bill is a quick solution that will lower the housing prices. He noted that the foreigners already have a VAT tax exemption and this real estate tax exemption is really just too much.

The bill was defeated 10-27.

MK Tirosh (Kadima) announced she voted twice by mistake (her place and MK Shai). Deputy Speaker Vaknin announced it was a mistake for the protocol.

Amendment to the Nazi Persecution Bill

MK Bielski (Kadima) explained his amendment would create a national authority to serve as a one stop shop for Holocaust survivors to ease the bureaucracy. He noted that 80 MKs co-sponsored his bill. He said that asking elderly Holocaust survivors to run from one government ministry office to another is unacceptable. He said that by opposing the bill the government is saying that they don’t care about fighting for Holocaust survivor rights.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen said that all 120 MKs stand in unity for the Holocaust survivors and dismissed Bielski’s statements. He pointed out that Prime Minister Netanyahu founded a special office in the Prime Minister Office for Holocaust survivors that is led by Deputy Minister Nass (Likud). He said that office serves the Holocaust survivors very well and accomplishes much of what is asked from this bill. He went on to list the government accomplishments from that office for his final ten minutes.

MK Bielski charged the bill is being dropped because of politics. He screamed at Cohen and the government for three minutes.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen said he was offended by Bielski’s words because he agrees with the ideas but rejects that the government is failing the survivors.

Minister Peled (Likud) got up and asked, as a Holocaust survivor, if the vote on the bill could be delayed. Bielski agreed.

Profiler Teacher in Education System Bill

MK Tirosh (Kadima) explained her original bill would regulate the rights of the ten to fifteen percent of students with learning disabilities. She said that currently the government is not involved and external tests determine which rights will be given to the students. She charged that certain people buy learning disability rights. She stated her bill would nationalize the learning disability tests and recommendations and prevent misuse of the system. She said that her system is not just about punishment and those who cannot afford to buy rights would get them under her system. She said the 4,000 schools can share resources, and this does not have to cost a lot of money.

Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) said that Tirosh touched on a sensitive subject and he agrees with her diagnosis of the problem but not her solution. He added that he personally agreed with the bill but the government requested two months to examine the 400 million shekel budget of the bill. He noted that the only reason the government is asking the Knesset to defeat the bill is because Tirosh chose not to wait the two months. He said that his ministry’s budget will be 5 to 6 billion shekels, and it takes time to reduce the number by 400 million. He went on to the topic of politics and slammed the opposition for trying to delay early elections. He said that Israel’s opposition will be the only opposition to vote against early elections.

MK Tirosh said that arrogance is a difficult thing. She slammed the government for deciding to call early elections and force the public to vote when they don’t want to.

Deputy Speaker Vaknin (Shas) said that the Knesset should conduct a secret vote on early elections. He said the results would be 2-118 with Netanyahu and Liberman as the only two who would vote for.

The bill was defeated 6-21.

Amendment to the Public Housing Tenant Rights Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained the amendment would increase the number of single parent immigrant families eligible for public housing by having criteria that would be easier to attain.

Housing Minister Atias (Shas) said that Solodkin’s bill is discriminatory against Israelis. He said that immigrants aren’t immigrants forever, and he is against raising the ten year ceiling. He said that all citizens on the public housing waiting list starting next week will get NIS 3,000 a month towards rent without giving up their position in line. He said that his measure is social justice, and Solodkin’s bill is not.

MK Solodkin slammed Atias, pointing out that 3,000 people waiting in line with his ministry will get NIS 3,000, but the 50,000 people waiting on the Immigrant Ministry list will not. She said that she is done with the bill and will tell the immigrants to “Supreme Court” the government in order to get the job done.

The bill was defeated 6-14.

Motion/Amendment to the Arrangements Bill

MK Swaid (Hadash) explained his amendment would change the calculations for property tax reductions for tuitions in the municipalities. He said the change would increase city tax reductions for families that house their university students at home. He stated this bill would assist poor families that send their children to university. He agreed to turn the bill into a motion to avoid defeat.

The motion passed 6-0 and was sent to the Appropriations Committee.

Amendment to the Law and Administration Ordinance Bill

MK Katzeleh (N.U.) said that early elections are a waste of money and pointed out the country sent the MKs to the Knesset for at least 4 years. He stated even though he doesn’t like this government, the people want it to last longer. He noted the agreement with Jewish Home and the National Religious Party that would have them running with National Union in the next elections. He expressed confidence that a joint list will lead to a double digit showing in elections and the party will have a lot of influence in the next government. He went on to discuss his nationalist bill that he said will be defeated by the nationalist parties for a third time this term. He said this bill put in place Israeli law in the cities, Regional Councils and Local Councils of Judea and Samaria. He listed his bill’s 40 co-sponsors from Likud, Yisrael Beitenu and other parties. He said that 350,000 Jews live in Judea and Samaria under military rule. He went on to slam Prime Minister Netanyahu’s position on a Palestinian state as well as the building freeze in Judea and Samaria. He read out the names of the Likud Mayors in Judea and Samaria and their cities’ populations and told them to call their Likud MK friends to convince them to vote for this bill that will end their status as residents with full taxation without equal representation.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government opposition to the bill because it did not reach the Ministerial Committee of Legislative Affairs.

MK Katzeleh said it was not even worth responding to Neeman.

The bill was defeated 4-14.

Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee Chairman Haim Katz (Likud) explained the amendment would change the regulations on provident funds (Kupot Gemel). He spent about twelve minutes explaining the incredibly long and financially complex bill.

The bill passed its second reading 13-0.

The bill passed its third reading 13-0.

 

________________________________________________________________

This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s May 2, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/02072712.doc

The Knesset’s Wednesday session lasted about seven hours. 15 bills were discussed. Eight bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, and seven bills were defeated. The bills advanced would force mobile phone companies to warn their consumers of the dangers of using their products; increase the pension of Independence War veterans; transfer information from the population registry to the parties before party primaries; grant an additional payment to soldiers who exceed the maximum number of reserve days a year; require politicians not registered in a party to follow the rules of supervision and transparency that apply to registered parties; and, lastly, require companies to disclose what cut they receive when they recommend a different businesses product to a consumer.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) answered two queries at the beginning of the session.

* House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced that MK Shnaan (Independence) will replace MK Wilf (Independence) in the Funds, State Comptroller, and Science and Technology Committees. He also announced that MK Shai (Kadima) will replace MK Tiviaev (Kadima) in a subcommittee.

* House Committee Chairman Levin announced a long list of disputed bills and motions and which committees will discuss them. He asked the Knesset to approve the request, and they did with a 7-0 vote.

* Six motions were discussed on a wide variety of topics. The motions were sent to committee by the votes 9-4, 11-0, 7-3, 5-0, 2-0 and 4-0.

Bills Summary

 

Notification of Dangers of Usage of a Mobile Phone Bill x2

MK Shamalov Berkovich (Kadima) explained her bill would require the mobile phone companies to notify users of the dangers of the device. She said mobile phones have taken over our lives and every little thing is connected to the phones. She said that many studies teach us that cell phones can cause cancer and even change the human DNA. She went on to list the dangers of cell phones and asked if they were worth it. She told parents that they should be ashamed of themselves for giving their children cell phones and warned that children under 16 have their brains fried from cell phones.

MK Khenin (Hadash) announced his similar bill would require protection of using a mobile phone and restrict advertising in many cases. He said the part of his bill that would be advancing would require the mobile phone companies to notify its customers of its dangers.

Environment Minister Erdan (Likud) expressed government support for the bills. He said the government doesn’t know if cell phones cause cancer, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful and support this bill. He said it is easier for people to lower their cell phone consumption than to complain to their municipality about antennas.

The first bill passed its preliminary reading 18-0 and was sent to the House Committee to decide which committee would discuss it further.

The second bill passed its preliminary reading 22-0 and was sent to the House Committee to decide which committee would discuss it further.

Amendment to the Former Captives’ Payment Bill x2

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) explained his amendment would provide a 25% increase in the financial grant for elderly former captives who were captured during the Independence War.

MK Elkin (Likud) explained his similar amendment would accomplish the same thing. He thanked the government for supporting the bills and asked the Knesset to advance the bill as soon as possible. He noted most of the people in question are over the age of 80 and need the money yesterday.

Minister Begin (Likud) expressed government support for the bill. He said the bill will cost around five million shekels a year. He said former captives over the age of 67 receive NIS 14,500 annually and those eligible will see a raise of close to 5,000.

The first bill passed its preliminary reading 19-0 and was sent to the Defense Committee.

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

Amendment to the Parties Bill

MK Levin (Likud) thanked his co-sponsors MK Plesner (Kadima) and MK Cabel (Labor) for making this a multi-party issue. He said that primaries are a complicated process and the voting list of each party is constantly changing. He noted since the last elections there are new voters, some voters have died, and other have changed their addresses. He explained the amendment would require the population registry to transfer the information they provide before the national elections on other dates for the purpose of conducting primary elections. He said that since this information is already being transferred there is no reason not to update it more frequently in order to help the primary process.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill.

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) said he agrees with the purpose of the bill but disagrees with its methodology because it doesn’t fix the primary process.

MK Levin agreed there are a lot of problems with the current primary system but stressed this is a step in the right direction and asked the Knesset to approve it.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 37-2 with one MK abstaining and was sent to the House Committee.

Amendment to the Reserve Service Bill

MK Cabel (Labor) said those who think we can draft all of the ultra-orthodox with the end of the Tal Law without finding a place to put them is wrong. He said that when it comes to the reserve, the numbers drop significantly. He said that is the real place where the burden of service is not equal. He said people who leave their families for reserve duty must be compensated. He explained his amendment would grant an additional payment to soldiers who exceed the maximum number of reserve days a year. He expressed hope this would change the army’s priorities and they will start respecting the maximum number of reserve days a year or pay up significantly.

Culture and Sport Minister Livnat (Likud) expressed government support for the bill. She noted this bill will cost the defense establishment dozens of millions of shekels.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 31-0 and was sent to the Defense Committee.

Amendment to the National Health Insurance Bill

MK Agbaria (Hadash) explained his amendment would maintain citizens’ health insurance coverage while they are outside of Israel. He said many young citizens go overseas for years to university and lose out on their Israeli health care.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that someone who is out of Israel for six months straight shouldn’t receive Israeli coverage overseas. He added that it used to be a two-year requirement; he lowered it to six months, and his ministry has saved a lot of money. He went on discuss his solution to the doctor crisis which is allowing foreign trained doctors from OECD countries to transfer their medical license to Israel.

MK Agbaria said a person who pays for Israeli health care should receive Israeli health care.

The bill was defeated 17-34.

Running Public Transportation on Weekly Day of Rest Bill

MK Horowitz (Meretz) said that Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) drives on the Sabbath but prevents others from using public transportation. He said that Katz can allow public transportation but chooses not to. He said many people want to use public transportation but the so called status quo harms them. He said that forcing people to work on Sabbath doesn’t harm the workers and he stresses that as a proud socialist. He said pollution, heavy traffic and traffic accidents are always the worst on the Sabbath and that is why his bill that would force the running of public transportation on the Sabbath is so necessary. He said the government is grounding the public to their homes. He said just like former Prime Minister Begin was once in the minority and became the majority, he will be as well. He said just like the Tal Law was overturned, one day the status quo will be overturned and civil marriage would be passed. He said this is a free country and the time will come where the people revolt against the ultra-orthodox’s standing in government.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds of keeping the status quo balance of religious and non-religious citizens. He said it is important to take into account the feelings of religious people who are bothered by transportation in their neighborhoods on the Sabbath. He reminded Horowitz that Meretz complains about the status quo when they are in the opposition but are silent when they are in the coalition. He concluded that buses in Haifa on the Sabbath have an average of four passengers per bus.

MK Horowitz said that religion works when it isn’t forced. He said people fast on Yom Kippur and perform a brit milah because they aren’t forced to. He said that when Meretz is in the government their message is heard and they brought peace and human rights to Israel.

The bill was defeated 10-35.

Amendment to the Parties Bill

MK Levin explained his amendment would fix a loophole in Israeli law so that people who enter the political realm will have the duty of registering their party. He said it is unacceptable that people can start a political campaign without the transparency and supervision required of existing political parties. He said people can throw millions at a candidate and the public would have no idea who it is from. He thanked his co-sponsors, MK Schneller (Kadima) and MK Ben Simon (Labor), for making this a multi-party issue. He said this bill isn’t meant for Yair Lapid, it is meant for everybody.

MK Khenin objected to the bill and said everybody should be allowed to run for public office. He said that he doesn’t like Yair Lapid, but he must be allowed to run for Knesset. He blasted the bill and called it delusional.

MK Levin said he was surprised that Khenin supports someone who is receiving funds from unknown people without supervision or transparency. He asked Khenin if it is okay that Lapid is using loopholes and should we not close them. He called on the Knesset to approve the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 33-18 and was sent to the House Committee.

Amendment to the Gas Tax Bill

MK Yoel Hasson slammed Prime Minister Netanyahu for entering the plenum to support Levin’s bill. He blasted Netanyahu for sending Levin to do his bidding, slammed him for raising the gas tax every year starting in 2009, and attacked him for running away from the plenum. He said in 2008 Kadima had a 38% tax on gas and in 2009 Netanyahu raised it to 56%. He said a gas tax of 56% is ridiculous. He called on the government to listen to the cries of the people and lower the tax and the gas price. He explained his amendment would lower taxation on gas to 30%. He went on to blast the tax on the tax. He concluded no one wants to pay 8 shekels a liter.

Minister Begin said Israel isn’t the only country that has high gas prices and isn’t the only country to have a tax on a tax. He suggested MK Hasson calm down and not work himself up. He expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the gas taxes are on par with many other countries. He said this bill would cost 1.4 billion shekels a year and the country can’t afford that. He reminded Hasson that Israel has the lowest unemployment level in 32 years and Israel’s economy is doing just fine.

MK Bar-On (Kadima) decided to give a history lesson. He said the high gas taxes were a response to the second intifada and were raised again in response to the global economic crisis of 2008. He said the current tax levels are higher than they should be and there is no reason for them to be at that level since the economy is doing well nationally and internationally. He called the current level a daytime robbery and said he is looking forward to the roll call voting.

The bill was defeated 25-36.

MK Shama (Likud) responded that Hasson and Bar-On wrongly accused him of ruining Israel’s economy. Deputy Speaker Vaknin (Shas) called Bar-On to order and told him that he can’t keep acting like a bully. He said that this bill is irresponsible and wouldn’t pass in any parliament around the world.

MK Bar-On said that Shama and Vaknin didn’t follow proper Knesset protocol.

Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance Bill

MK Whbee (Kadima) explained his amendment would limit large commercial vehicles from passing cars in three lane highways. He said there are 359,000 trucks on the road and 4,228 of them have been involved in traffic accidents. He slammed the government for rarely sending the relevant minister to answer the questions he raises on the proposed bills.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman said he agrees with Whbee that the relevant minister should present the government’s answer to each bill. He expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that preventing trucks from passing cars is excessive. He went on to discuss the weekly Torah portion of Tetzaveh and why Moses is not found in it.

The bill was defeated 15-26.

Amendment to the Basic Law: The Knesset

MK Sheetrit explained his amendment would raise the threshold for a party to enter the Knesset to 5%, which is a level that is accepted in many parliaments around the world. He said small parties are problematic and must be abolished. He recalled when he brought up this bill in 1999 it fell by two votes because Labor supported the Arab parties in a corrupt bargain that later brought down the Likud government. He recalled Rivlin and Eitan supported the bill in 1999. He said a fellow Kadima MK suggested this law might wipe Kadima off the map and Sheetrit responded it is better Kadima ceases to exist if they can’t receive 5%. He said this bill will force the Arab parties to merge into one and the other small parties will merge with larger ones. He recalled when the two largest parties had 95 seats in the early 80s he still couldn’t pass this bill because of the small parties’ games. He said the time has come to put an end to the small parties.

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan (Likud) said there is an interest in allowing people’s voices to matter and to allow a minority the chance to be a part of the game. He agreed on the other hand that finding a balance so the larger parties can govern is difficult. He said under Sheetrit’s bill hundreds of thousands of votes would disappear and the larger parties would gain from those votes. He added that parties would be able to bypass this bill by joining up before elections and splitting after. He expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that coalition parties oppose the bill.

The bill was defeated 13-40.

Amendment to the Value Added Tax Bill

Minister Begin explained the government opposes MK Sheetrit’s bill proposed at an earlier date that would eliminate the VAT on the gas tax. He gave no reason.

MK Sheetrit responded that a tax on a tax is unacceptable and should be abolished. He said there is a VAT on 50% of the gas price, which is the actual gas price, and there is a VAT on the other 50%, which is a gas tax. He said a tax on a tax is something that hurts the middle and lower sectors of society. He said the government can just transfer the VAT’s worth to the gas tax and at least there won’t be a tax on a tax. He reminded the MKs that Coalition Chairman Elkin (Likud) was his co-sponsor.

The bill was defeated 18-29.

Amendment to the Courts Bill

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) explained his amendment would classify those who didn’t serve in the military, national or civilian service as unfit to serve as a judge in the Supreme Court. He agreed that this would discriminate against Arabs and ultra-orthodox Jews who didn’t serve in one of those three places but asked how can these people decide on these key subjects if they never served. He slammed the Supreme Court Justice who refused to sing the national anthem and called for his resignation. He read out national anthems that are controversial yet Jews that live in those countries still sing those national anthems. He noted Native Americans sing the American national anthem despite the fact they were massacred by the white man. He stated someone who didn’t serve the country and feel the burden can’t decide for everyone else. He asked Foreign Minister Liberman and his Yisrael Beitenu party how they can vote against his bill when their campaign slogan was “No Loyalty – No Citizenship”.

Bureaucracy Minister Eitan expressed government opposition to the bill. He said that he agrees there should be certain qualifications to serve as a Supreme Court justice but disagrees that carrying the burden of serving their country is one of them. He said this penalizes and excludes entire population groups from serving on the Supreme Court.

MK Ben Ari responded that Arabs and ultra-orthodox are allowed to serve in civilian service and if they do they can serve on the Supreme Court. He said it is unacceptable that non-Zionist justices can decide what happens in key cases in the Zionistic state. He told Kadima this is a bill they would have proposed themselves and they should support it.

The bill was defeated 4-29.

Amendment to the Consumer Protection Bill

MK Shama (Likud) explained his amendment would require the disclosure of additional compensation companies receive as a result of a business transaction. He said if someone is recommending a product and he gets a piece of it, they will now need to disclose that to the consumer.

Deputy Speaker Akunis (Likud) called for a vote because a minister was not present to present the government’s position on the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 8-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

________________________________________________________________

This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s February 29, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/01292112.doc

The Knesset’s Wednesday session lasted about seven hours. 16 bills were discussed. Five bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, three were turned into motions, one was not voted on to avoid defeat and seven were defeated. The bills advanced prohibit a customer from purchasing prostitution services, extend the time seniors can take out their pensions tax-free, prohibit charging television owners who don’t have television channels the TV tax and a financial grant to women who leave shelters. The newest MK Shnaan was sworn in.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas), Justice Minister Neeman and Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) answered urgent queries to open the session.

* Speaker Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Opposition Minister Livni gave warm speeches welcoming the President of the Republic of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic, to the Knesset.

* Speaker Rivlin swore in new MK Shachiv Shnaan (Independence), who replaced Home Front Defense Minister Vilnai (Independence) in the Knesset. Vilnai will keep his ministerial position until he is appointed Ambassador to China.

* Seven motions were discussed on a wide range of subjects. Four motions were sent to committee by the votes 8-0, 9-0, 3-0 and 4-0. Two motions were not voted on. A motion on Abu Mazen’s speech and Netanyahu’s response was defeated 6-6.

* Energy and Water Minister Landau (Y.B.) answered a query and Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) answered three queries.

Bills Summary

 

Amendment to the Prohibition of Prostitution and the Care and Treatment of the Community Bill

MK Zuaretz (Kadima) said that Israel has been a serial offender of sex trafficking and pimping. She said this has not helped Israel’s standing internationally when their human rights position is already in question. She said many female foreign workers from the far east and illegal immigrants from Africa are among the prostitution rings. She said the blue and white prostitution rings have 12 and 13 year olds among their ranks. She said it is the costumers and demand that keep these prostitution rings open. She said that is why she wrote her amendment that would prohibit costumers from paying for sex.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill. He said prostitution is immoral and the government supports the bill that would allow up to a six month prison sentence for any customer to pays for a prostitute.

MK Zuaretz promised this bill will help prostitutes.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 28-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.

Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill

MK Haim Katz (Likud) explained his amendment would extend the period in which pensioners can take out their pension without paying additional fines.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government support for the bill.

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) objected to the bill. He said he agrees with Katz’s ideas but that he disagrees with the methodology. He called on going back to the pre 2008 methods which would save the pensioner a lot of money. He stressed there is no longer any reason to open a “Kupat Gemel” because it is no longer a sound financial stragedy.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 22-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.

Two Amendments to the New Shekel Currency Bill

MK Whbee (Kadima) explained his amendment would repeal the rounding of shekel amounts. He said that the poor people need every agura and are losing it every time they pay 1.99 or 2.99 etc. He said billions of shekels disappear a year and hurt the customers.

MK Eldad (N.U.) said his similar amendment would accomplish the same thing, allow the poor Israelis save every agura possible by prohibiting the rounding of shekel.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen expressed government opposition to both bills. He said that although citizens who pay in cash lose their agurot, those who pay with credit cards and checks don’t lose their agurot. He said allowing flexibility with the agurot helps the businesses and the government doesn’t want to change that. He charged government analysts thing both bills will lead to an increase of prices throughout the market.

MK Whbee charged the government is allowing businesses to steal money for the poor. He stressed the poor people don’t have credit cards and they can only pay in cash.

The first bill was defeated 19-33.

The second bill was defeated 19-32.

Amendment to the Absorption of Discharged Soldiers Bill

MK Whbee explained his amendment would require the government to fund veterans preparation courses for psychometric test. He said that veterans can’t afford the price of the preparation courses from the basic discharge package and need more help from the government. He said he would withdraw the bill if the stupid psychometric test are abolished, which he said isn’t a good measure of a students abilities. He said the veteran package is privately funded but managed by the government, so they can’t even pretend his bill is a strain of the state budget. He said it is the governments job to help veterans get to the state universities.

Energy and Water Minister Landau (Y.B.) expressed government opposition to the bill. He said that the government love veterans and just raised the exit package of veterans. He stated the soldiers are allowed to use that money towards courses for psychometric tests if they so choose.

MK Whbee said the government should be deciding what to do with private donors money and allowing his bill to pass.

The bill was defeated 19-32.

Amendment to the Consumer Protection Bill/Motion

MK Tirosh (Kadima) explained her amendment would change the rules and regulations for digital parking ticket services. She said they need to be upgraded to be customer friendly.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that legislation isn’t the place to fix the issues Tirosh is bringing up.

MK Tirosh responded she is willing to withdraw her bill if Simhon agrees to fix the problem without legislation. She asked if she could turn the bill into a motion, so they could discuss the matter in committee. Simhon agreed.

The motion passed 47-1 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Sale of Apartments Bill

Justice Minister Neeman responded to MK Sheetrit’s bill that he proposed at an early date. He expressed opposition to the bill that would limit the cost of legal fees as a component of the price. He said a lawyer should be allowed to charge as much as they want for a service and the customer and market will decide if they want to pay that price.

MK Sheetrit reminded Minister Neeman that originally the government supported the bill. He said lawyers shouldn’t take 1.5% to 2% of the price of a house and called it a scandal. He slammed the Tourist Minister and MK Rotem (Y.B.) for convincing the government to overturn its original decision. He thanked Minister Peled (Likud) and Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) for appealing Rotem’s opposition. He slammed the coalition for opposing the bill because of one person’s objection.

The bill was defeated 21-27.

Amendment to the Securities Bill

Finance Minister Steinitz (Likud) responded to MK Sheetrit’s bill that he proposed at an early date. He expressed government opposition to the bill that would prohibit issuance of shares for debt. He said the bill would harm the economy by putting additional strain on the big businesses. He stated it is in the publics interest to forgive big businesses debt to the country because the companies usually rebound. He said the country should help these companies. He said new management shouldn’t be penalized for previous management’s failed decisions. He told Sheetrit not to be correct, but to be smart. He said this bill would create an atmosphere that would harm the economic system as we know it.

MK Sheetrit reminded that two weeks ago Prime Minister Netanyahu supported his bill. He charged that Steinitz didn’t read his bill because the scenarios he listed wouldn’t happen under his bill. He charged that the coalition members are afraid to pass this bill because they are planning on getting jobs in those big companies one day.

The bill was defeated 19-34.

Struggle against Poverty Day Bill/Motion

MK Ben Simon (Labor) explained his original bill would force the government to celebrate a day marking the struggle against poverty, as well as force the government to act on behalf of that day each year. He noted 485,000 families live under the poverty line in Israel and the government must do something about it.

Energy and Water Minister Landau asked Ben Simon to turn the bill into a motion in order to avoid its defeat. Ben Simon agreed.

The motion passed 21-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

 

Amendment to the Planning and Building Bill

MK Katzeleh (N.U.) explained his amendment would place conditions for demolitions and prohibit them from 6 PM until 8 AM. He stated that his bill would apply to Arabs, Bedouins, Jews and settlers. He thanked MK Khenin (Hadash) for co-sponsoring the bill with him and said this proved both sides of the political spectrum supported the idea. He asked where the animal activists are and said it is too bad they care more about cows and chickens. He read off a government decision to prohibit milking a cow on the television show Big Brother because it might harm the cows daily routine. He slammed the government for deciding the cow’s routine is more important than the children who are thrown out of their beds in the middle of the night with no warning. He slammed Minister Eitan (Likud) for suggesting the bill won’t apply in Judea and Samaria. He said demolition can take place during the day and it isn’t proper for the government to give kids psychiatric scaring. He asked the leftist where they are and why they won’t at least save the Arabs homes.

Minister Nahari (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill and said it wouldn’t apply to Judea and Samaria. He said there is no difference between demolishing a house in the day or the middle of the night.

MK Katzeleh said Prime Minister Netanyahu must feel that he will be Prime Minister for the next 18 years, because opposing such a bill will hurt him politically on the left and on the right. He slammed Kadima for leaving the room because they can’t vote for a National Union bill but can’t vote against this bill.

The bill was defeated 9-21.

Amendment to the Planning and Building Bill

MK Zoabi (Balad) said it is illegal to demolish any house and there is no such thing as an illegal house. She spent ten minutes slamming the government for their policy of destroying houses. She explained her amendment would only allow a demolition if a social worker report allows it.

Minister Nahari expressed government opposition to the bill. He slammed parents for keeping their children at home when the government comes to throw them out. He said the parents are guilty for all scars their children receive.

The bill was defeated 6-25.

Amendment to the Housing Loans Bill/Motion

MK Naffaa (Balad) explained his amendment would allow someone who is eligible to one loan to take an additional loan at the same rate. He added the loan repayment participation would be at a lower interest rate and couldn’t exceed 3%. He noted that his bill was very similar to Deputy Speaker Vaknin’s (Shas) bill that is buried in committee.

Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas) charged Naffaa’s bill doesn’t accomplish what the purpose of his bill wishes and therefore the government is against it. He said that his ministry chose 28 towns and whoever wishes to build in those towns will receive a grant between 100,000 to 120,000 NIS. He suggested turning the bill into a motion and Naffaa agreed.

The motion passed 23-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill

MK Hermesh (Kadima) slammed the government for allowing a select few profit for Israel’s economic growth at the expense of the majority. He explained his amendment would prohibit public companies from paying salaries of over 250,000 NIS a month from taxpayers money. He said anyone who makes over three million shekels a year shouldn’t receive that money from the tax payers. He agreed to postpone the vote on his bill in order to enlist government support.

Amendment to the Broadcasting Authority Bill

MK Hermesh explained his amendment would grant an exemption on television tax fees for TVs that do not get their TV signals. He said some people buy televisions to use them for purposes other then watching broadcast TV. He said that because television can only pick up broadcasts with a digital recorder, those who don’t own a digital shouldn’t have to pay TV tax.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 7-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Two Amendments to the Women Living in Battered Women Shelters Benefits Bill

MK Gal-On (Meretz) explained her amendment would present a financial grant for the first thirty days after a woman leaves a shelter to assist her in the adjustment period. She said this bill will help these women pay for basic things and prevent them from going back to their horrific husbands. She said the grant is 8,000 shekel and 1,000 shekel for each additional child, although from the fourth child there is no additional payment. She said the cost of the bill is less than four million shekel since there are only 800 women in 13 shelters. She noted 748 of those women have a child or more.

MK Khenin (Hadash) explained his similar amendment would accomplish the same thing. He said the shelters are important, but the day after is just as important.

Energy and Water Minister Landau (Y.B.) expressed government support to both bills. He said the government will agree to pay up to three million shekel for the program.

The first bill passed its preliminary reading 7-0 and was sent to the Women’s Rights Committee.

The second bill passed its preliminary reading 8-0 and was sent to the Women’s Rights Committee.

—————————————————————————————————

This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s February 15, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/01024112.doc

The Knesset’s Wednesday session lasted about eight hours. 16 bills were discussed. Six bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, six were defeated, two were turned into motions and two were withdrawn to avoid defeat. Four of the six bills advanced involve banning the use of Nazi symbols and other symbols from the Holocaust. The other two bills deal with consumer protection rules, such as paying in cash and coupons that don’t expire. Six motions were sent to various Knesset committees for discussion.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas), Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.), Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) and Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.

* House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced that a disputed bill would be transferred to a different committee.

* Six motions were discussed on the hot topics of the week. The motions were sent to committee by the votes 8-0, 11-0, 13-0, 10-0, 5-0 and 5-0.

 

Bills Summary

Mount of Olives Authority Bill

MK Eldad (N.U.) explained his original bill passed its preliminary reading during the Olmert administration thanks to then-Jerusalem Minister, Kadima MK Edery. He asked the government to support his attempt to pass it during a conservative administration. He explained his bill would classify the cemetery on the Mount of Olives as a national preserve that must be maintained. He noted that the ancestors of many of the Jewish MKs’ families are buried there and it was expected when Israel gained control of the area in 1967 that nothing bad would be done to it. He warned that Israel has neglected the cemetery and allowed it to turn into a drug and crime zone. He called on the government to either clean up and take care of the Mount of Olives or pass his legislation that would create an authority to do just that. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill in order to try to enlist more government support.

Banning the Use of Nazi Symbols, Aliases. Holocaust-Related Nicknames Bill x4

MK Ariel (N.U.) explained his original bill would ban the use of nazi symbols and names in Israel. He said that the usage of Nazi memorabilia by Ultra Orthodox Jews, Muslims and Christians is insulting to Holocaust survivors. He said that this bill might harm freedom of expression, but in every democracy there are boundaries. He stressed that the usage of Nazi symbols in Israel is past all boundaries in a Jewish state. He said that a judge is allowed to fine any citizen or tourist up to NIS 100,000 for breaking this law.

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained her similar bill would prohibit the use of Holocaust-related nicknames. She said six million Jews lost their lives and nothing should ever be compared to the Holocaust. She said we must protect the Holocaust survivors from such occurrences.

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained his similar bill would prohibit harming the memory of the Holocaust. He asked how Israel could lead the fight against the Holocaust deniers if they didn’t pass the following pieces of legislation. He asked how any Jew could harm the memory of the Holocaust and called on the Knesset to support all of the bills that will be merged into one.

MK Molla (Kadima) explained his similar bill that was co-sponsored with MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) will place new limitations on freedom of expression when it comes to Nazis and the Holocaust.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for all four bills. He said these bills are among the most important of the current Knesset.

MK Khenin (Hadash) opposed the bills. He said this is a hard, extreme and unique blow to freedom of expression in Israel and claimed the bills go too far. He said it is unacceptable to take the Nazis out of history and common discussion. He said they were a political party and movement and must not be erased from memory. He asked if Netanyahu, who tried to draw a parallel between Hitler and Iran’s President, will now become a criminal under the new law. He added that he disagreed with Netanyahu about any connection between the two. He argued the “Never Again” argument is not meant to silence freedom of expression. He asked if building camps for Sudanese can be compared with concentration camps. He stressed he isn’t a Holocaust denier and noted he is named after a relative who died in the Holocaust.

MK Ariel responded that every party from Labor through Kadima to Likud and the rest of the nationalist camp supports this bill. He asked Khenin how he could compare to concentration camps a camp that gives real showers and three warm meals to Sudanese. He screamed at Khenin for having the chutzpa to say we don’t need this bill. He said if certain exceptions must be made, they can be done in the committee before the first reading. He said that there is a consensus on this bill among all Israelis who are sane.

The four bills passed their preliminary readings 27-4 28-3 31-1 and 26-4, and were merged into one bill in the Justice Committee.

Minister Peled (Likud) said as a Holocaust survivor he doesn’t understand how any MK could have possibly voted against these elementary bills. He said that he will be meeting Germany’s Chancellor and will be asking her to extend the prohibition of the publication of Hitler’s Mein Kampf book. He wondered how he could have asked that if the Knesset hadn’t advanced these bills today.

Amendment to the Consumer Protection Bill

MK Miller (Y.B.) explained his amendment would prohibit expiration dates on coupons given from the government or as a company gift to an employee.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) expressed government support for the bill. He noted the government will not support the retroactive clause in the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 25-0 and was sent to the Funds Committee.

Amendment to the Consumer Protection Bill

MK Cabel (Labor) explained his amendment would prohibit conditioning the type of payment in a transaction. He stated if someone wants to pay in cash they should be allowed to do so, and now businesses will have to accept cash for any type of payment. He said certain people prefer paying all of their bills in cash and now they will be able to do so. He said that the customer will be sent a bill in the mail ten days before the payment date.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon expressed government support for the bill. He noted certain sections would have to be removed from the final draft of the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 23-0 and was sent to the Finance Committee.

Motion/Amendment to the Penal Code Bill

MK Ganaim (R.T.) explained his amendment would prohibit advertisements for spiritual or mystical treatments. He warned there are many “whack jobs” who prey on people’s mystical interests and make a quick buck. He said his bill would not take away their jobs but would at least make them less accessible. He stated certain successful mystical magicians make loads of money and don’t even pay full taxes. He added that there are many cases of sexual harassment and worse.

Justice Minister Neeman said the government opposed the bill but would accept a discussion on the matter as a motion. Ganaim agreed.

The motion passed 17-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Amendment to the Planning and Building Bill

MK Swaid (Hadash) explained his amendment would eliminate criminal offenses and penalties for owners of illegal housing that is in the process of being legalized but is held up in bureaucracy. He said this bill is in the spirit of Interior Minister Yishai’s (Shas) solutions for illegal housing as Yishai outlined during an answer to an urgent query two weeks ago.

Minister Nahari (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that breaking the law is unacceptable and eliminating the punishment for breaking the law is unacceptable. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill in order to consult the matter with Yishai.

Establishing Shelters for Battered Women Bill

MK Zoabi (Balad) explained there are only thirteen shelters for battered women and her bill would increase the number of shelters and the number of women allowed in each shelter. She stated her original bill would transfer all of the shelters into full government funding and care. She noted that eighteen battered women were murdered in Israel in 2010 and the number was higher in 2011. She also called for more Arab shelters since the mixed shelter has eighty Arabs and thirteen Jews. She said that Arab women are in more danger and there should be more shelters for them.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) said there are fifteen shelters and another two under construction. He said that Israel would be in real trouble if they needed to build 260 shelters like Zoabi asked.

The bill was defeated 15-42.

Amendment to the Judges Bill

MK Horowitz (Meretz) explained his amendment would allow women to serve as manager of rabbinical courts. He said that he is 100% against rabbinical courts, but as long as we have them, women should be allowed to serve in key positions since they are still public institutions. He said opposing this bill would mean excluding women from Israel’s public sector. He spent the next ten minutes discussing his opposition to rabbinical courts.

Minister Nahari explained the government position is to keep the status quo in the rabbinical courts and therefore it is opposed to the bill.

MK Horowitz said that Nahari and his answer are the reasons the secular Israelis hate religious Jews. He spent the next five minutes attacking the connection of state and religion.

The bill was defeated 12-36.

Amendment to the Water Tariff Reduction Due to a Medical Condition Bill

MK Abesadze (Kadima) explained her amendment would lower water payments for people with serious medical conditions. She told a few personal stories of homeless and sick people. She explained certain people need more water than the average person because of their sickness and it is the government’s job to pay for it. She stressed it is the government’s job to take care of all of its citizens. She warned that opposing bills like this one will lead to another social justice protest movement.

Energy and Water Minister Landau (Y.B.) said he agreed with Abesadze in principle but disagreed with her methodology. He said that his ministry’s budget can’t afford to fund this bill and that is why he opposes it. He called on Abesadze to try to change government policy and his ministry’s funding in other ways and not to expect him to take money away from one important thing in order to invest in another important thing. He said he cares about the handicapped and autistics, who need more water, but explained he needs more money.

The bill was defeated 18-31.

Amendment to the Price Inspection of Commodities and Services Bill

MK Tirosh (Kadima) explained her amendment would force the government to supervise Israeli staple items. She slammed free trade, competition and capitalism, claiming they have raised prices above the prices from when Israel was a socialist economy. She said capitalism has failed and has led to cartels. She accused the government of pretending to provide free childcare for ages 3 and 4 when there aren’t any new preschools that have been built.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that a government committee is determining which items are staple items. The committee plans to suggest reintroducing supervision on what they define as staple items. He added that lowering the age of free public education to three is historic and should be supported.

MK Tirosh asked how many committees this government has created that led to nowhere. She stressed that she defined staple items and the government should support her bill. She called Cohen’s response a disgrace.

The bill was defeated 18-32.

Amendment to the Companies Bill

MK Shai (Kadima) explained his amendment would establish a pool of potential directors for public companies. He said that it is important for public companies to be run by independent directors and not by political appointees. He stated establishing a directory will be able to ensure that it is implemented.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the current checks and balances are sufficient. He said the loopholes of the current procedure are not closed in Shai’s bill and therefore there is no reason to support it.

The bill was defeated 18-33.

Motion/Amendment to the Prison Ordinance Bill

MK Bibi (Kadima) explained his amendment would prohibit public phone use for committing a crime in prison. He said that many criminals use public phones in the jails to run their gangs on the outside and they also use it to order hits and launder money. He agreed to turn the bill into a motion in order to avoid defeat and discuss the matter in committee.

The motion was passed 25-0 and sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Police Ordinance Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained her amendment would make higher education a requirement for being hired as a serious crimes investigator or detective. She warned that the citizens have lost their faith in Israel’s police force and this bill would help correct that. She noted that the courts have repeatedly criticized uneducated police investigators who have accused the wrong people or messed up an interrogation, leading to a criminal’s release.

Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) expressed government opposition to the bill. He stated some of Israel’s best police investigators don’t have higher education and would lose their jobs if this bill passed.

The bill was defeated 13-23.

—————————————————————————————————

This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s January 11, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/00323712.doc