Tag Archive: urgent queries


The Knesset’s Wednesday session lasted about five hours. Nine bills were discussed. Four bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, three bills were turned into motions, and two bills were withdrawn before the vote to avoid defeat. The highlight bill of the day for Jerusalem readers will be the new appeals committee for light rail fines. Other interesting bills were discussed during the jam-packed day.

Non-Bills Summary

  • Interior Minister Yishai (Shas), Communications Minister Kahlon (Likud), Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) and Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) answered urgent queries at the beginning of the session.
  • House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) announced his committee’s suggestion of MK Shemtov (Y.B.) as Deputy Speaker to fill the spot of MK Levi-Abekasis, who resigned earlier in the day. It was approved 28-0.
  • Six motions were discussed. Four motions were sent for further discussion in committee by the votes 11-0, 8-0, 5-0 and 7-0. One motion was defeated 6-48, and one motion was not voted on.

Bills Summary

Amendments to the Illegal Residence Bill

Speaker Rivlin asked House Committee Chairman Levin (Likud) how his committee can allow this bill to get a shortcut that saves it 45 days if the government decided to withdraw their support for the bill. Levin responded that his committee and Akunis didn’t know the government changed their mind and that he should take the issue up with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Deputy Prime Minister Mofaz.

MK Akunis (Likud) slammed Mofaz and Kadima for trying to torpedo his bill. He quoted former Prime Minister Begin in his opening Knesset address in June 1977 when he invited all Vietnamese refugees to Israel. He said that 70,000 illegal immigrants are not refugees. He said that these illegals have flooded Tel Aviv, Eilat, Arad, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Netanya and Haifa. He said that he is for human rights but asked where the rights of the citizens of southern Tel Aviv are. He stressed that the Knesset was elected by them and not by the illegals. He said true social justice is taking care of our poor, not illegals. He said that these illegals live in the weakest communities and take away the communities’ jobs. He explained his amendment would toughen the restrictions that prohibit assisting the illegals by toughening punishment for those who house, employ or transport them within Israel’s borders. He said that he wishes that the courts never need to try someone but expressed the importance of it none the less. He noted the illegal housing of Bedouins in the Negev that isn’t being demolished when the Ulpana is.  He praised the government for building the fence by investing two billion shekels and assured Israelis that the 170 Kilometer fence will be completed by this fall. He praised the soldiers who do their job protecting us. He said that these illegals must be returned healthy and whole to their countries after the fence is completed. He noted his meeting with the Eritrean ambassador who assured him that every illegal can be sent back to his home without any harm coming to them.  Akunis withdrew the bill to avoid defeat.

Motion/Amendment to the Penal Code

MK Zeev (Shas) explained his amendment would prohibit disrobing or being naked in all public places with the exception of beaches with a punishment of one year of jail time. He slammed the actor Tonic Spencer for creating the naked culture in Israel. He said that this is not Sdom and Gemorah and being naked in public is simply not acceptable. He made it clear that he is not talking about partial nudity but rather full nudity. He said public pornography is not acceptable. He spent ten minutes stressing this point. He concluded by asking why many places in the United States have stronger laws on these matters than Israel.

Justice Minister Neeman said the new crime of being naked in public and the one year jail time is excessive and the government expresses their opposition to the bill. He noted that current law prohibits nudity in public in certain cases. He added that the bill isn’t written in proper legal language and is too broad. He said he would allow the matter to be discussed in committee as a motion and Zeev agreed to do so.

MK Khenin (Hadash) opposed the motion on the grounds that nudity is a democratic right of artistic expression and a Knesset discussion is problematic.

MK Horowitz (Meretz) opposed the motion on the grounds that a Knesset discussion on the topic of outlawing nudity has no place in a democratic system.

MK Zeev asked that the motion be sent to the Women’s Rights Committee.

The motion passed 12-7 and was sent to the Women’s Rights Committee.

Amendment to the National Health Insurance Bill

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) explained that the amendment will force the kupot cholim to send the ‘17 transfer form’ directly to hospitals or other medical providers instead of expecting the patient to deal with the paper work. He noted that his bill was defeated a year ago but he decided to try again. He read out a Bar Ilan University professor’s problems with the 17 transfer form. He told a personal story of how a problematic 17 transfer lead to a friend getting diagnosed with cancer a month later than he should have.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) expressed government support for the bill. He said that this situation should be resolved by January 1, 2013, and if it is not then this bill can be advanced further.

The bill passed its preliminary reading 29-0 and was sent to the Health Committee.

Establishing a Database Regarding the Product Prices in Chain Stores Bill

MK Shama (Likud) explained his original bill would create a national digital database that lists the prices of food, pharmacy and gasoline in chain stores. He said this free market bill will increase competition and lower prices. He said the ability to find the cheapest price on any product will help the weakest sectors in Israeli society.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) expressed government support for the bill.

The bill passed its preliminary 16-0 and was sent to the House Committee to determine which committee will prepare the bill for its first reading.

Two Amendments to the Railways Ordinance Bill

MK Rotem (Y.B.) explained his amendment would reduce the fine for driving without a local train ticket and create an appeals committee. He said Jerusalem light rail passengers are dealing with problematic issues.

MK Maklev (U.T.J.) slammed Citipass for excessively slapping fines on people. He said the absence of an appeals system is not democratic, especially since it is a private company and not the police or a local city official.

Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) expressed government support for both bills.

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

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

Motion/Amendment to the Local Authorities Bill

MK Cabel (Labor) explained the amendment would create sheltered apartments for people who are thrown out of their homes for not paying their mortgages. He noted the loophole in Israeli law that protects the homeless but not someone who lost their home because of not being able to make payments. He stressed that a former apartment owner is not eligible to receive help from the Labor and Welfare Ministry.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill due to financial restraints but asked Cabel to turn the bill into a motion so that they can have an intensive discussion in committee to elaborate on the sensitive issue. Cabel agreed.

The motion passed 27-0 and was sent to the Welfare Committee.

Motion/Amendment to the Students’ Rights Bill

MK Barakeh (Hadash) explained his amendment would prohibit placing a conditional fee as part of an entry process to learning at a state school. He said that public school should be free and he cannot understand how the government can oppose his bill.

Deputy Education Minister Moses (U.T.J.) expressed government opposition to the bill because its provisions already exist in Israeli law. He noted the areas in Israeli law that deal with the five aspects of the bill. He stressed that no student can be turned away because of his parents’ inability to pay tuition. He noted the book borrowing program and the planned digital books program. MK Matalon (Y.B.) said this should be discussed in committee because the truth is very different than the law. MK Cabel also pressured Moses to allow a motion. Moses asked Barakeh to turn the bill into a motion to enable a committee discussion.

Barakeh responded that his bill should be passed to protect the children. He agreed to turn the bill into a motion.

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

Amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance Bill

MK Gal-On (Meretz) explained her amendment would prohibit tax deductions for people who make more than NIS 61,000 a month. She went on to slam those who make large salaries and save money twice through tax deductions. She blasted the capitalistic government and their anti-socialist policies that protect big companies and their managers. She said that the government should not be afraid of the social justice protests and should listen to their solutions. She decided to withdraw the bill until a later date to prevent defeat.

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s June 13, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/02883212.doc

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.

 

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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 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.

—————————————————————————————————

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 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.

 

—————————————————————————————————

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 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.

—————————————————————————————————

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 Wednesday session lasted about six hours. Twelve bills were discussed. Two bills were advanced after passing their preliminary readings, seven were defeated, one was turned into a motion and two were not voted on in order to avoid defeat. Seven motions were discussed. The bills advanced allow the splitting of an apartment into two in order to promote flooding the market with more apartments and allow customers who don’t use their technological device while overseas to roll their internet minutes or data to the month after they get back.

Non-Bills Summary

* Energy and Water Minister Landau (Y.B.), Housing and Construction Minister Atias (Shas), Interior Minister Yishai (Shas) and Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) answered urgent queries to start the session.

* Seven motions were discussed and sent to various Knesset committees for further discussion by the votes 8-0, 7-0, 6-0, 5-0, 5-0, 15-0 and 3-0.

Bills Summary

Amendment to the Bathing Places Bill

 

MK Zeev (Shas) explained his amendment would require the government to place lifeguards at ponds and streams of national parks and nature reserves. He stated many children and adults have been injured and some have died because there are no lifeguards in nature reserves and national parks. He said it is unacceptable that the country charges 25 shekels a person for entrance and provides entrance to ponds and streams that don’t have lifeguards. He asked where the money is going. He said posting a sign is not sufficient. He asked why the government would oppose the bill since the funding is directly connected to the entrance fees. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill to a later time when he receives government support.

Amendment to the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Bill

MK Miller (Y.B.) explained his amendment would allow the accumulation of units of web browsing services when the customer is outside of Israel. He said this was the customer is allowed to use the units that were part of the plan when they return to Israel.

Communications Minister Kahlon (Likud) expressed government support for the bill.

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

Temporary Provision Amendment to the Planning and Building Bill

MK Eichler (U.T.J.) explained his amendment would allow the splitting of apartments of over 100 square meters into two apartments as long as each apartment has at least 35 square meters. He said the temporary provision would last five years until the government builds enough houses to meet the demand. He expressed hope this bill would help flood the market with many apartments.

Interior Minister Yishai expressed government support for the bill.

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

Amendment to the Preventing Employment of Sex Offenders in Certain Institutions Bill

MK Naffaa (Balad) explained his amendment would prohibit the employment of a minor who is a sex offender in all educational institutions. He said there are 16 and 17 year olds who work at formal and informal educational institutions and his bill will make sure those hired aren’t sex offenders. He agreed to postpone the vote on the bill until he received government support.

Protecting Public Agencies’ Working Contracts’ Rights Bill/Motion

MK Khenin (Hadash) explained his original bill would prohibit hiring contracted workers through big consulting companies who pocket a big profit. He noted that in the public sector 50% of workers are contractors and they don’t receive the same rights as the other 50% who are employees. He listed the many rights that contracted workers would receive according to his bill that would result in the same exact rights as an employee.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon (Independence) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the contracted workers’ rights were recently updated. He said some time must pass to see if there is a need to increase contracted workers’ rights, and perhaps the latest round of rights is the correct balance. He offered Khenin to turn the bill into a motion and if the committee decides to support the initiative he will support the bill at a later date.

MK Khenin warned that many contracted workers were not included in the latest round of benefits and his bill would apply to all contracted workers. He agreed to turn the bill into a motion.

The motion passed 49-0 and was sent to the Labor Committee.

Prohibiting Discrimination in Housing Bill

MK Gilon (Meretz) explained his original bill would prohibit the discrimination of all minority groups in real estate, whether it be for selling or renting. He said the fine would be NIS 150,000. He slammed the Mevaseret police for prohibiting an Ethiopian march protesting the discrimination of Ethiopians in Kiryat Melachi. He said this is the right time to pass this bill and send a message to Kiryat Melachi racists.

Homeland Security Minister Aharonovitch (Y.B.) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that the bill is too extreme and calls for extreme punishment. He said the government is against racism, but this bill goes too far.

MK Gilon said if the government really supported the principle of the bill but disagreed with some of the details it could be passed in its preliminary reading and changed in committee before its first reading. He charged the government doesn’t care about this bill and has a racist policy. He called for a role call vote.

The bill was defeated 22-43.

Reporting Requirement for Financial Institutions’ Unclaimed Funds Bills

MK Sheetrit (Kadima) explained his original bill would require the banks to disclose on the internet the bank accounts of the NIS 15-20 billion that have been frozen for ten years or more in order to allow citizens to claim their inheritance. He slammed the banks for opposing this bill and trying to pocket the money that is not rightfully theirs. He reported his bill is law in many democratic countries. He blasted the government for opposing his bill in 2011 and asked them to sober up in 2012. He promised that if the government passes the bill in its preliminary reading, he won’t pursue it in the first reading unless he convinces the government it is a good idea.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen (Shas) said the bill is unnecessary since the principle is already found in Israeli law under the power of the finance minister and the finance minister is going to implement the internet database soon.

MK Sheetrit said he doesn’t believe the website will be created without his bill passing. He said it is the public’s right to have the money they deserve. He said he will wait for six months in committee after the preliminary reading to see if the finance minister actually implements the internet database. He warned the government not to choose the big banks over the simple citizens.

The bill was defeated 17-40.

Amendment to the Chief Rabbinate Bill

MK Molla (Kadima) explained his amendment would require the inclusion of Keisim in the Chief Rabbinate’s electoral assembly. He asked the Knesset to stand with the Ethiopians today and support this bill over discrimination by the ultra orthodox. He said there are 60-70 Keisim who are the Rabbis of the Ethiopian community in Israel and they should be part of the spiritual leadership of the Israeli Rabbinate. He said despite the fact that former Chief Rabbi Goren said Ethiopians aren’t Jewish, they were still brought to Israel thanks to Chief Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, and they should not be excluded from religious Judaism. He said this discrimination leads to Ethiopian riots in Kiryat Melachi.

Religious Affairs Minister Margi (Shas) expressed government opposition to the bill on the grounds that it would set a dangerous precedent to choose electoral assemblies by their country of origin. He said there is no rule preventing Keisim or Ethiopians from serving in the assembly, but they are not big enough at this time to have the votes needed to enter the assembly. He said the government supports Ethiopians but can’t support this bill.

MK Molla said giving 70 Keisim a salary without authority was stupid on the government’s part and they should be given authority within the assembly.

The bill was defeated 21-33.

Amendment to the Social Security Bill
MK Molla explained his amendment would increase the old age pensions, which would help a key demographic of poor Israelis. He stated the old built this country and deserve more than they are given, even if it will cost billions to the national budget. He said this bill is very logical.

Labor and Welfare Minister Kahlon (Likud) said the principle is worthy and just, but the budget cannot withstand such an increase. He said for a long time the old age pension was 16% and today it stands at 17.7%, but the country can’t jump to the 20% required in the bill. He said he gave NIS 11 million towards old peoples heating bills and he really wants to support this bill, but he can’t.

MK Molla said he sympathizes with Kahlon because the priority of this government is not for the elderly, rather for the big businesses. He promised to raise this bill for discussion every six months.

The bill was defeated 25-35.

Two Amendments to the Retirement Age Bill

MK Solodkin (Kadima) explained her amendment would lower the retirement age for women to 60 for three large groups that would include most of the women in the workforce.

MK Yachimovich (Labor) explained her similar amendment would lower the retirement age of all women to the age of 60. She went on to give a speech for the next ten minutes that resembled a campaign speech, with many fancy words, little substance and a lot of story telling.

Deputy Finance Minister Cohen expressed government opposition to the bills on the grounds that as humans live longer, the retirement age should be raised and not lowered. He said any actuary knows that it is a very dangerous financial move to accept such a bill and would cost the country billions of shekels. He said NIS 600 million is provided to a fund that assists women who retire in their 50s because of physical jobs that took a toll on their health.

The first bill was defeated 19-32.

The second bill was defeated 15-31.

Amendment to the Security Service Bill

MK Katzeleh (N.U.) explained his amendment would maintain freedom of religion in the army by allowing soldiers to follow any religious tradition or practice that is authorized by the army Chaplains. He said it is impossible to try to draft the ultra orthodox Jews into the army if they are asked to break Jewish law. He said the generals should allow the army rabbis the freedom to rule in Jewish matters and should respect the rabbis’ decisions and positions. He added that a soldier who refuses to hear a woman sing should be allowed to politely walk away from the performance without being disciplined. He warned if the army doesn’t go towards the religious, it can’t expect to draft the religious. He noted that within the next decade the religious Jews will make up a majority of Jewish births. He stated the government needs to look at how they can make life easier for them in the army, and not harder. He slammed the latest attempts to harm religion in the army and expressed hope it wouldn’t scare away religious soldiers. He said a free democratic country should protect freedom of religion. He said the generals should enter into a dialogue with the ultra orthodox rabbis and ask what they can do to encourage more religious Jews in the army. He concluded that Israel’s religious soldiers are asking for freedom.

Industry and Trade Minister Simhon expressed government opposition on the grounds that freedom of religion has limits, just like every other freedom. He said this bill will impair army discipline and allow soldiers to think for themselves more than necessary. He said army service is not a request but a duty, and soldiers will be forced to listen to female singers if that is what the army wants.

MK Katzeleh said orders must be followed, but common sense must be used as well. He said the current policy is keeping the ultra orthodox from the army and that is very sad.

The bill was defeated 2-19.

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This was the Knesset Jeremy English translation protocol of the Knesset’s January 18, 2012, session.

Official protocol in Hebrew: http://www.knesset.gov.il/plenum/data/00455012.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.

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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