Tag Archive: prime minister netanyahu


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

The Knesset’s Monday session lasted about two hours. Four bills were discussed. One bill became law after passing its third reading, two bills were advanced after passing their first readings and one bill was not voted on. There was no no-confidence motions this week due to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s trip to United States. It is an unofficial tradition not to attempt to topple the government while the Prime Minister is representing Israel overseas. Because the Wednesday session was cancelled, the Knesset’s usual three-day week was merged into a two-day week schedule.

 

Non-Bills Summary

* 15 MKs gave speeches during the one minute speech segment that opened the day.

* Homefront Security Minister Vilnai (Independence), Energy and Water Minister Landau (Y.B.), Deputy Education Minister Moses (U.T.J.), Labor and Welfare Minister Kahalon (Likud) and Immigration and Absorption Minister Landvor (Y.B.) answered urgent queries.

* Justice, Law and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) announced his committees request to split a bill into two. The Knesset approved the request 11-0.

* House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced which disputed bills will be discussed in which committees.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Population Registration Bill

Interior and Environment Committee Chairman Cohen (Shas) explained the amendment would force the population registry to change a citizen’s religion based on the Rabbinical Court decisions. He said it is unacceptable that many people are Jews according to Jewish law and the secular population registry in the Interior Ministers office refuses to list them as such. He said the population registry can temporary not comply if they have reason to believe the citizen is not Jewish, however if a Rabbinical Court examines that evidence and disagrees, they must comply with the court decision.

The bill passed its second reading 14-0.

The bill passed its third reading 14-0.

Temporary Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) explained the amendment would increase the interest earned as well as a tax benefit package for seniors who keep their pension in the government’s hands for an extended period of time, allowing them to do part-time work during that time.

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) blasted the 40% increase of water bills in the last two years. He suggested the national project of transferring from national water resources to privately run treatment plants is hurting Israelis and should be prevented and repealed.

MK Molla (Kadima) slammed the government decision to transfer seven billion shekels from the budget to different places in one committee discussion and vote. He said this isn’t a serious way to deal with the tax payers money. He asked why the Immigration and Absorption Ministry was cut by 28 million shekel. He blasted the 5.5 million shekel cut in the Ethiopian budget. He suggested Minister Landvor supported these measures and doesn’t really want to absorb the remaining Jews in Ethiopia.

Immigration and Absorption Minister Landvor (Y.B.) told Molla to drop the stigma that she is against absorbing immigrants in general and Ethiopians in particular. She said that she fought against those cuts and Molla should stop trying to be a populist to win points. She said that all of her projects were cut and not just those of Ethiopians. MK Molla heckled her speech, so she decided to step down from the podium.

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) criticized the government position that high gas taxes are meant to save the environment and promote public transportation. He then went on to slam foreign lobbyists that are promoting incitement against orthodox Jews of all types and settlers. He called for transparency on all of the hidden lobbyists that are not classified as such. He concluded by calling the Israeli Supreme Court a group of Meretz supporters that act like dictators, but unlike Russian President Putin, they don’t even need to pretend to have elections.

Deputy Speaker Vaknin (Shas) announced the vote for this bill will take place the next day.

Amendment to the Pension Payment for Reserve Soldiers and Their Families Bill 

MK Matalon (Y.B.) explained the amendment would grant a one time payment of 100,000 shekel to orphans who lost a parent during a terrorist attack or military service before 1999. He explained that the payment goes to the spouse, but in cases of no living spouse the orphans would not receive the payment. He stated this bill would fix the technical loophole and 240 orphans would now receive their payment.

MK Zeev (Shas) praised the bill and slammed the current situation.

The bill passed its first reading 5-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

Funds Committee Chairman Gafni (U.T.J.) explained the amendment would grant eligibility for an old age pension increase for widows and housewives over the age of 82 years. He said that the increase would end the discrimination where women over the age of 82 receive less money than women under the age of 82. He said the bill would take effect on January 1st 2013.

The bill passed its first reading 7-0 and was sent to the Funds Committee.

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s March 5, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/01361112.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.

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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 had no bills, queries or motions. It was a festive plenary session that presented an excuse for Israel’s top figures to give speeches on their vision of the Knesset.

Non-Bills Summary

* Speaker Rivlin, President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Livni gave speeches marking the Knesset’s 63rd birthday on Tu B’Shvat.

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s February 8, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: There was no official protocol for this date.

A Panels Polling Company internet based poll broadcast by Knesset Channel 99 on February 22, 2012, shows Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud remains at the top with 30 seats, but the nationalist block he represents drops to 64 seats. Foreign Minister Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu comes in with 14 seats.  Labor receives 16 seats in the poll and becomes the leader of the center-left block, with Kadima’s 13 and Lapid’s 11 within striking distance. Meretz’s seven seat finish is most likely a bump thanks to their recent leadership primary. National Union’s six seats compared to Jewish Home’s three seats will help their bargaining strength during the merger negotiations. Shas drops to six seats, UTJ drops to five, and Hadash and Ra’am-Ta’al drop to three each. Balad maintains their three seats while Independence doesn’t pass the threshold.

 

If elections were held today who would you vote for?
Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

30 [27] Likud
16 [08] Labor
14 [15] Yisrael Beitenu
13 [28] Kadima
11 [—] Yair Lapid Party
07 [03] Meretz
06 [04] National Union
06 [11] Shas
05 [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
03 [03] Jewish Home
03 [03] Balad
03 [04] Hadash
03 [04] Ra’am-Ta’al
00 [05] Independence

Panels also asked voters of three different demographics which candidate they support in the Kadima leadership race next month.

Entire population: Livni 24% ― Mofaz 16% ― Dichter 15% ― None of them 32%

2009 Kadima voters: Livni 43% ― Dichter 15% ― Mofaz 12% ― None of them 25%

Plan to vote Kadima in 2012 or 2013: Livni 68% ― Mofaz 19% ― Dichter 13%

The Knesset’s Wednesday session lasted about seven and a half hours. 14 bills were discussed. Five bills advanced after passing their preliminary readings, four were turned into motions, three were not voted on in order to avoid defeat, and two were defeated. The bills advanced deal with motorcycle insurance, prevention of minors in prostitution, encouraging disabled people to enter the work force and prohibiting the tapping of computers.

Non-Bills Summary

* Interior Minister Yishai (Shas), Education Minister Sa’ar (Likud) and Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.

* A special ceremony commemorating the former Czech president Vaclav Havel was held with speeches from Speaker Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu and MK Avital (Kadima).

* Six motions were discussed on a wide variety of topics. Five of them were sent to committee to be discussed further by the votes 9-0, 10-0, 4-0, 5-0 and 4-0. One motion was defeated 0-6 after the MKs decided they had spoken enough about the topic.

 

Bills Summary

Motion/Amendment to the Government Bill

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) explained his amendment would require ministers to report why regulations were not enacted by the date they were required to begin. He said if a minister chooses not to follow the law, he should give a reason for it. Speaker Rivlin said this was one of the best bills he has seen this term and attacked the government for opposing it. Eichler slammed the press for not attacking ministers who choose not to follow the law. He went on to slam capitalism and praise socialism. He told the liberals they should respect ultra-orthodoxy’s method of higher education if they respect the Arabs’ methods. He went on to praise Jewish life, its connection to Hebron and Education Minister Sa’ar for bringing Israeli schoolchildren to visit there. He agreed to turn the bill into a motion.

The motion passed 14-0 and was sent to the House Committee.

Amendment to the Motor Vehicle Insurance Ordinance Bill

MK Shama (Likud) explained his amendment would change the insurance components for motorcycles and truck drivers in order to lower the rates back to the 2001 levels. He said the current high rates have discouraged people from owning motorcycles and trucks and his bill will lower them considerably. He blamed lobbyists for giving motorcycle drivers a bad name and manipulating statistics. He said the government doesn’t have a position on the bill.

MK Zeev (Shas) slammed the insurance companies for over charging and the government for thinking that solving that problem will lower the number of traffic accidents. He suggested the government take a percentage of the profits and invest it in better roads. He suggested this bill might be the problem and not the solution.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 18-0 with MK Zeev abstaining and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee should discuss the bill.

Amendment to the Penal Code Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained the punishment for maintaining a place for the prostitution of a minor will be raised from the minimum sentence of two years to seven years.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 15-0 and was sent to the Justice Committee.

Two Amendments to the Mandatory Tenders Bill

MK Avraham Balila (Kadima) explained her amendment would encourage companies to hire workers with disabilities. She said in 2004 there were 165,000 disabled people on welfare and three quarters of them have previous work experience.

MK Orlev explained his similar amendment attempts to accomplish the same goal – to have more disabled people in the workforce. He said it is social justice to support the bills.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen expressed government support for both bills.

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

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

Amendment to the Computer Bill

MK Avraham Balila explained her amendment would close a loophole that allows the tapping of phones through computers or other technical devices that are not currently included under law. She stated this bill would protect privacy laws and combat piracy and viruses.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill and said this bill will allow Israel to join the 2001 Budapest International Convention on Cybercrime.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 23-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.

Motion/Amendment to the Planning and Building Bill

MK Barakeh (Hadash) explained his amendment would prohibit the demolition of Bedouins’ homes in the Negev. He went on to give a fiery ten minute speech blasting the government for demolishing Bedouins’ homes.

Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) said that this has been an issue since he was MK Zeev’s assistant in the Jerusalem municipality during the 1980’s and he has always been against demolishing homes for no reason.

Minister Begin (Likud) said that compromise is the best solution and called for turning the bill into a motion to discuss the matter further in committee.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) said that when it comes to people’s houses the only compromise that is acceptable is not demolishing their house.

Minister Begin suggested it is the Bedouins who don’t want to compromise or make sacrifices and that will cause them to lose their houses. He called on Bedouin tribes to stop fighting each other and asking the government to act as the referee.

The motion passed 31-1 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Planning and Building Bill

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) explained his amendment would require the posting of planning and building committee decisions and pending decisions on the internet instead of in newspaper advertisements. He said that this will make it an easier process, will help serve the public and will help the government save millions every year.

Religious Affairs Minister Margi (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that not everyone has internet and instead the government will go with a bill that includes the internet and the newspapers. He added that religious people don’t use the internet frequently and many newspapers might close if they don’t have money coming in from required newspaper ads.

MK Sheetrit said that he is willing to remove his clause on closing the newspapers but asked why the government can’t support the website aspect of the bill. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill in order to give the government more time to come around.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

MK Sheetrit explained his amendment would grant military and national service veterans an exemption from payment of health insurance premiums and social security payments for four years after their service ends. He said the bill will cost NIS 80 million annually. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill in order to enlist government support.

Motion/Amendment to the Security Service Bill

MK Bibi (Kadima) explained his amendment would require a criminal record check before moving a soldier from the army to the Border Police. He said it is not proper to move a soldier to the Border Police and three months later send him back to the army because they forgot to do a simple security check.  He agreed to turn the bill into a motion in order to have a committee discussion on the matter.

The motion passed 26-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Preventing Domestic Violence Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained her amendment would automatically place in jail anyone who violates a protection or restraining order. She noted 20% of women killed in domestic abuse cases had a standing court order against the person who killed them that was violated more than once. She called the government’s decision to oppose the bill an embarrassment.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that it takes discretion out of the hands of policemen on the scene of a court order violation.

The bill was defeated 14-28.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) responded to MK Solodkin’s bill that was previously presented on changing the qualifying period for maternity social security benefits for students. He said that he had previously asked Solodkin to postpone the vote on her bill but he failed to convince the government to support her bill. He asked the coalition defeat the bill.

MK Solodkin told the coalition to vote for her bill and expressed sorrow that Kahlon wasn’t able to attain government support.

The bill was defeated 15-28.

Motion/Amendment to the Mandatory Tenders Bill

MK Cabel (Labor) told those who didn’t want to hear his bill to have Shira’s espresso in the cafeteria. He explained his amendment would prohibit companies from having the highest salary be more than 40 times the lowest salary. He said that his bill would mean the CEO would be limited to NIS 160,000 a month if he hired people who make minimum wage. He asked how social justice can be achieved if they oppose such an elementary bill. He said most of the companies that have failed are because of problematic management and not problematic workers.  He agreed to turn the bill into a motion in order to discuss the bill further in committee.

The motion passed 19-0 and was sent to the Funds Committee.

Amendment to the National Health Insurance Bill

MK Eldad (N.U.) explained his amendment would change the terms for replacing medication, medical treatment, medical care, a medical service provider or medical facilities in order to make them easier. He said that by allowing the transfer of medical items more easily the public will receive a better product. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill to try and help convince the government to support the bill at a later date.

 

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

 

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/00738212.doc

The nationalist camp grows to 76 seats according to a poll conducted by Professor Avi Degani, President of the Geocartography group, on Friday, February 17, 2012. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud jumps to a term-high 39 seats, surpassing his previous high of 38 in early January. Foreign Minister Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu finishes second with 13 seats, a drop of two from their current position and a seat above their term-low 12. Opposition Leader Livni’s Kadima, which is in the middle of a primary battle, drops to 12 seats, a loss of more than half of their current seats. Labor captures 12 seats as well, and Shas rounds out the top five parties with nine seats. Former journalist Yair Lapid’s party drops to six seats, its lowest showing since September. If the National Union and Jewish Home would merge before elections, the poll places them as the fifth largest party with ten seats. According to this poll, Netanyahu could form a coalition of 62 seats with Liberman, National Union and Jewish Home without the need for any ultra-orthodox or center-left parties.

 

If elections were held today who would you vote for?

Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

 

39 [27] Likud
13 [15] Yisrael Beitenu
12 [28] Kadima
12 [08] Labor
09 [11] Shas
06 [—] Yair Lapid Party
05 [04] National Union
05 [03] Jewish Home
05 [05] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
04 [03] Meretz
10 [11] Balad, Hadash and Ra’am-Ta’al
00 [05] Independence

 

76 Nationalist Camp

The Knesset’s Wednesday session lasted about eleven hours. Sixteen bills were discussed. Eight bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, four were defeated, two were turned into motions and two were not voted on in order to avoid defeat. The bills advanced give welfare payments to orphans of veterans, regulate professional sports coaches, allow the strengthening of buildings for earthquakes, solve the Kfar Shalem housing issues, and enact supervision on government money in large companies. Eleven motions were also discussed. The monthly 40 MK session was quieter than in months past. The Knesset’s newest MK Avi Duan took the oath of office.

Non-Bills Summary

* Homefront Defense Minister Vilnai (Independence), Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) and Environment Minister Erdan (Likud) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.

* The newest Member of Knesset, Avraham Duan, took the oath of office, replacing Eli Aflalo, who chose to retire from the Knesset in order to accept a position in the  Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael. Duan confessed he didn’t sleep the night before and this is a dream come true for him. He said being an MK is a promotion from his job as a social worker and Aflalo took his breath away when he decided to step down.

* A 40 MK signature request for a discussion on the ‘Netanyahu government’s failure in the political, economic and social sectors ‘ was discussed by Prime Minister Netanyahu, Opposition Leader Livni and 15 MKs. Netanyahu’s speech was approved 31-22.

* Eleven motions were discussed on a wide range of topics, and all of them were sent to various Knesset committees for further discussion by the votes 32-14, 30-26, 11-0, 6-0, 4-0, 4-0, 5-0, 3-0, 4-0, 4-0 and 2-0.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Pension Payment to Reserve Soldiers’ Families Bill

MK Haim Katz (Likud) explained his amendment would require the country to transfer payments to the children of a reservist who has died if the spouse is deceased. He announced a bill passed in December gave a welfare payment to spouses of fallen soldiers but orphans of fallen soldiers didn’t receive a payment, which led to him submitting this bill.

Homefront Security Minister Vilnai (Independence) expressed government support for the bill and said the 224 orphans deserve the welfare payment that their other parent would have received.

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

Amendment to the Sports Bill

MK Miller (Y.B.) condemned MK Ben Simon for his racist statements against the Russian immigrant population the previous day. He explained his amendment would regulate professional sports coaches so that they meet European standards.

Culture and Sport Minister Livnat (Likud) also condemned MK Ben Simon for his racist statements and condemned the timing of his statements, which came on the heels of the racism towards Ethiopians in Kiryat Melachi. She said she was surprised that Ben Simon, an immigrant from France and a former journalist, could say such things and called on him to apologize. She went on to express government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 26-0 and was sent to the Sport Committee.

MK Ben Simon (Labor) was allowed to respond to the charges. MK Miller, MK Ilatov (Y.B.), MK Matalon (Y.B.), MK Kirshenbaum (Y.B.), MK Shemtov (Y.B.) and MK Zeev (Shas) heckled his response. Ben Simon responded that he didn’t think anything he said was racist and that he will keep helping weak minorities like Arabs. He said the Russians are very strong and don’t need his help at all. He apologized if the MKs understood his mocking of a Russian accent and statement that Russians are right wing extremists to be racist.

Amendment to the Lands Bill

MK Orlev (J.H.) explained his amendment would ease the conditions for approval of a plan to strengthen buildings and condominiums against earthquakes. He said bureaucracy has stopped many people from taking action to protect against earthquakes. He added that the bill would require all apartment owners to foot the bill for strengthening the building if 51% of the owners support it.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 27-0 and was sent to the Interior Committee.

Amendment to the Nazi War Veterans Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) said she was not surprised to learn what Ben Simon said about Russians. She told him it was a big mistake, very disrespectful, and expected from a former Haaretz journalist like himself, and it was a good idea for him to apologize. She stressed that just because it might seem that Yisrael Beitenu is anti-Arab, that doesn’t mean that all Russians are anti-Arab, and Ben Simon should watch what he says in the future. She explained her amendment would provide rights for handicapped Nazi War veterans equal to the rights of disabled IDF veterans. She said there are 2,300 handicapped Nazi War veterans who are still alive, with the youngest at the age of 86. She said these people fought for Israel’s future and at their old age should receive the same benefits as IDF veterans. She said the humane thing to do is provide for them as their numbers slowly fade away.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that it would cost about NIS 1.1 billion annually and because 62,000 people would be eligible for compensation the way Solodkin phrased the bill. He suggested turning the bill into a motion and finding a way in committee to draft a new version of the bill that is on a lower scale.

MK Solodkin said Cohen’s numbers are wrong and he is talking about all holocaust survivors and not handicapped Holocaust survivors. She suggested the government should actually read her bills. She expressed regret the government was going to defeat a Holocaust related bill the day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The bill was defeated 14-27.

Amendment to the Traffic Ordinance Bill

MK Bielski (Kadima) explained his amendment would require painting blue all handicapped parking spaces in Israel so that drivers can’t pretend they didn’t see the sign. He said that if the cost of the bill is too high, he is willing to phase in the implementation of the bill gradually over a decade. He even volunteered to find money from his mayor buddies and have some of the local municipalities foot some of the bill. He said the weekly Torah portion of Kedoshim teaches us we must pass this bill.

Science and Technology Minister Hershkowitz (J.H.) stated the weekly torah portion is Bo. He expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that every handicapped parking spot has a sign and it is unnecessary to also paint the spot blue. He noted that Israeli traffic laws follow the European standard.

MK Bielski apologized for mistaking Bo with Kedoshim. He said that the current system isn’t working because people who are not disabled are parking in handicapped spots because they don’t see the signs.

The bill was defeated 15-32.

Amendment to the Inspection of Prices of Commodities and Services Bill

MK Tirosh (Kadima) explained her amendment would regulate whole wheat bread and the new government supervision would result in a national fixed price. She said this was the healthy approach that both doctors and nutritionists support. She said the government’s opposition to the bill is piggish capitalism and wondered how a socialist like Simhon could approve of such a position. She said the price of whole wheat bread should be four shekels and not 19 shekels. She warned that the poor can only afford white bread, which leads to health problems.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) said he saw no reason to have supervision on whole wheat or white bread. He said consumers prefer other food, computers, education, culture and so on. He told Tirosh not to make such a big deal over bread. He expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that heavy regulation raises prices and doesn’t lower them.

MK Tirosh said she really didn’t see a connection between whole wheat bread and computers. She stated bread is the most important food item and it should be heavily regulated. She said the government is acting like a piggish capitalist entity that has no emotions and no heart. She told the government they should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon responded that Tirosh didn’t listen to his answer and defended himself that he isn’t a pig. He noted that 90% of baked goods in Israel are not under supervision and there is no reason to include more items in the supervision list. He said in a free market without regulation, prices go down.

The bill was defeated 14-35.

Amendment to the Consumer Protection Bill

MK Tiviaev (Kadima) explained his amendment would require the notification and marking of monitored items along with their required price. He said there are 20 food items that are under government supervision and the public should have a right to know what they are and how much they are supposed to cost. He slammed the Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs and called the ministers who sit on the committee liars. He said every minister told him they supported the bill, yet the bill didn’t win government support. He said it must be a black hole. He blamed the capitalist government for opposing his logical bill. He charged Simhon is trying to split Kadima into two like he split Labor into two. He called the government and Simhon liars.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon said he isn’t a liar and he supported Tiviaev’s bill. He added that he is proud of splitting Labor and he doesn’t need to split Kadima because it will split into pieces on its own. He said he planned to take most of the idea and pass it off as a ministerial provision. He suggested Tiviaev wait 30 days to see if he is successful in his provision plan and if not he would support the bill in its preliminary reading. Tiviaev agreed to wait 28 days.

Motion/Amendment to the Income Support Bill

MK Sarsur (R.T.) explained his amendment would allow an entitlement benefit for those who left Israel more than once during the year. He stated the current situation is that welfare benefits are not given for the calendar months in which someone is out of Israel unless they only leave Israel once a year. He noted his bill allows up to three trips abroad per year.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) said the government opposes the bill but he wishes to come to an understanding with Sarsur on some sort of compromise. He asked Sarsur to turn the bill into a motion and discuss with him the issues that led to the law in committee. Sarsur agreed.

The motion passed 18-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

Motion/Amendment to the Social Security Bill

MK Agbaria (Hadash) explained his amendment would increase social security payments for retired Israelis with many children, as opposed to the current law that only provides additional payments for up to two children. He said in today’s day and age, many people have children under 18 when they enter retirement, and since the children are under 18, their retired parents are expected to provide for them. He said the bill would add a percentage per child ratio and would cost around NIS six million annually. He agreed to Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon’s offer to turn the bill into a motion in order to discuss the matter further in committee and find some kind of agreement.

The motion passed 18-1 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill

MK Ben Ari (N.U.) explained his amendment would raise child welfare payments for large families to the levels they were before then Finance Minister Netanyahu in former Prime Minister Sharon’s government chose to lower them in order to encourage large families to go out and work. He said children cost a lot of money to raise and, as a tax payer, he deserves some of it back for raising the population. He called for justice, social justice. He said 40% tax brackets don’t encourage people to work, it is what encourages them to sit on their sofa. He said the lowering of welfare entitlements also does not encourage people to work. He said there are people who choose to have more children with their money instead of flying overseas to spend their money there, and for whatever reason the government is supporting the wrong one.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen expressed government opposition to the bill due to budget constraints. He said the government wants to support the bill but can’t add another NIS 2.5 billion to the budget. He went on to blast Yair Lapid for trying to get a third degree before passing his first degree. He listed the many MKs in the room who have three degrees without skipping anything.

MK Ben Ari defended his bill as fair and told Cohen and the government to stop being so greedy and to start sharing some of the wealth with the citizens.

The bill was defeated 4-29.

Amendment to the Former Captives Payment Bill

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) explained his amendment would provide a special one-time grant for the 1,500 elderly former captives of the War of Independence, the youngest among them 86 years old. He said these few people should be thanked by the country and shouldn’t die off because they are in poverty. He stressed the bill is very important to him, so he will postpone the vote on the bill until he receives government support.

Construction, Removal and Restoration of Kfar Shalem Areas Bill x4

MK Akunis (Likud) explained his original bill and the three similar bills attached to his will help the people of the Kfar Shalem neighborhood in Tel Aviv receive financial compensation for their temporary removal from their homes for the purpose of upgrading them. He slammed the municipality of Tel Aviv for opposing the bill and thanked the government for not picking sides on this one. He announced the cost of the bill is a one-time fee of NIS four million. He thanked MK Michaeli (Shas), MK Hasson and MK Gilon (Meretz), who attached their bills to his.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) slammed Tel Aviv Mayor Huldai and said this bill is one of the most important bills he has written since he entered the Knesset and the government better not back down now.

Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) stated the government does not have an official position on any of the four bills and the coalition may vote as they please. He revealed that he will be voting for all four.

The bills passed their preliminary readings 36-0, 33-0-1, 34-0 and 34-0. The bills were merged and sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss them further.

Amendment to the Companies Bill

MK Gal-On (Meretz) explained her amendment would require special arrangements for creditors under the supervision of the law. She said this bill will prevent companies that receive government money from doing whatever they want with it, especially if the government is paying their debts. She expressed hope this type of supervision would lead to transparency of the companies and might cause certain big businesses to split up into separate entities. She stated when a big company goes bankrupt, sometimes the government ends up in a loss of billions of shekels. She suggested this bill would help banks take a look at a large company before blindly giving out a big loan. She called on the government to listen to the people and not the business tycoons.

Justice Minister Neeman expressed government support for the bill but stressed the bill will go through many revisions in the committee discussions.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 25-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will discuss the bill further.

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s January 25, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/00604712.doc

The Knesset’s Tuesday session lasted about four hours. Two bills were discussed, and both were advanced after passing their first readings. The bills would allow welfare payments to continue when the woman is overseas and force the population registry to accept rabbinical court decisions on who is really Jewish. The MKs spent more time discussing International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the possible extension of the Tal Law. The official International Holocaust Remembrance Day is Jan 27, but the Knesset discussed it on Jan 24th instead.

Non-Bills Summary

* 14 MKs gave speeches on the one minute speech segment that opened the day. Many of the speeches were in the spirit of International Holocaust Remembrance Day or on the Tal Law.

* A motion on International Holocaust Remembrance Day was discussed by Speaker Rilvin, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Opposition Leader Livni and Deputy Prime Minister Shalom (Likud).

* 11 MKs participated in a preliminary discussion regarding the extension of the deferment of Yeshiva students from the army through the Tal Law.

* Tourism Minister Misezhnikov (Y.B.) answered six queries during a question hour.

* Deputy Education Minister Moses (U.T.J.) answered two queries at the end of the session.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Payment Bill

 

Justice, Law and Constitution Committee Chairman Rotem (Y.B.) explained the amendment would allow women to receive childcare welfare payments from the government even if they spend up to 72 days of the year outside of Israel or leave the country up to four times a year. He said that women who are overseas for longer than that period of time are probably not living in Israel.

The bill passed its second reading 22-0.

The bill passed its third reading 22-0.

MK Khenin (Hadash) thanked the MKs and Knesset for approving his feminist bill and extending welfare payments to women who leave the country for up to 72 days. He expressed regret he couldn’t find a way to convince the government to agree to extend the period of time even further.

Amendment to the Population Registration Bill

MK Azoulay (Shas) explained the amendment would require the population registry to register who is Jewish according to the rulings of the rabbinical courts. He slammed the population registry for deciding someone isn’t Jewish despite a rabbinical court decision that they are. He said after this bill is passed the population registry will be forced to follow Jewish law.

MK Cabel (Labor) said the bill he co-sponsored should have been unnecessary but he is happy to stand and lead the charge against the population registry, who have no right to decide who is Jewish and who is not.

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

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s January 24, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/00549012.doc