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Tag: Knesset

A Bill Raising Age for Marriage to 18 Approved

A bill prohibiting marriage under the age of 18 was recently approved in the Knesset, the new development changed the previous minimum age of 17. The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the bill initiated by MK Yariv Levin. Five ministers supported the bill and only one opposed, naturally, Minister Mushulam Nahari from Shas.

According to Levin, the minimum age of marriage must be aligned with worldwide norms and legal developments in underage marriage. This phenomena compromised the underage person’s rights, among these rights is the right to be joined in matrimony with full knowledgeable consent and with a right mind. Underage women are most at danger, in these kinds of marriages, as they are being wed according to traditional ideologies in which a woman’s place is at home and her life roll is limited to bearing and raising children. That is why the young woman’s consent might be a result of pressure from their family and in fact the marriage is forced. Furthermore, according to the bill, studies indicate that a large percent of underage marriages end up in divorce as well as violence and financial difficulties due to the couples’ young age and lack of maturity.

During the debate a representative from The Ministry of Justice stated that the office supports the bill. He explained that as the law rules 18 as the legal eligibility age, it is only appropriate that marriage, a legal declaration, will be prohibited under the legal eligibility age. The representative also stated that the Ministry of Justice also supports the clause that stipulates that a marriage license will be given at the age of 16 only in special cases.

This is indeed a historical landmark that will correct an injustice caused to young people, and especially underage women. This bill is social by nature and its approval will have a direct effect by sparing thousands from forced marriages, poverty and violence and will give them the opportunity to commence their lives however they choose. The bill is soon to be put for a preliminary vote at the Knesset.

New Anti-Boycott Bill

Elkin ZeevKnesset is reportedly trying to pass a law, sponsored by Ze’ev Elkin, formerly of Kadima, which in effect would ban Israelis from calling for consumer, academic or cultural boycotts of Israel.

Despite an effort to filibuster Monday night’s debate, the bill is expected to win the majority. Under its terms, any individual or organization sponsoring a boycott could be sued for compensation by any individual or institution claiming that it could be damaged by such a call. Proof of actual damage would not be required.

The bill will protect individuals and institutions in Israel – Judea and Samaria – from consumer boycotts of domestically produced goods or boycotts of academic institutions in settlements. It will also preclude the government from doing business with companies which comply with boycotts.

Israeli author Amos Oz described the proposed law as the “worst of the anti-democratic bills in the Knesset. The bill will turn law-abiding citizens into criminals.”

Ze’ev Elkin, of Likud, told Arutz Sheva:

“If the state of Israel does not protect itself, we will have no moral right to ask our allies for protection from such boycotts…I hope the [legislators] will understand that this is a battle between Zionism and the new left.”

Civil Unions under the Microscope in Israel

The place of Civil Unions in Israel is being analyzed in Knesset, as preliminary versions of final legislation bills are being looked over. Knesset Law Committee chairman David Rotem, presented a bill on Tuesday, which while did not represent his overall out look on the issue, at least made steps in the right direction.

rotemAccording to the bill, the government is to appoint a registrar for Civil Unions; and only Civil Unions may be joined by citizens that are not Jewish. Couples will have almost the same rights as marriages, accept that they will not be allowed to adopt children, or the use of a surrogate mother, for 18 months after their union is confirmed. Also they will not have the same rights regarding Citizenship Law, Right of Return Law and Entry to Israel Law.

Tzipi Hotovely a spokesperson from Likud, said she supported the bill but opposed the idea that it was just the first step toward much broader legislation. Human Rights groups have been vehemently opposed to the bill even as it stands, as they feel that it is a form of discrimination against gays and lesbians, and more modern/liberal lifestyles.

The Coalition Cat Fight

Are you ready for a OneJerusalem quick analysis of Knesset Mayhem?

Keep that circus music in your head now as you read this. By the numbers, PM Netanyahu’s coalition is 74 seats made up of 6 parties. He now wants to pass a bill called the “Mofaz Bill” which would allow for 7 Knesset members to break away from a party and form their own faction. This bill is named after the guy on the right, number 2 on Kadima, currently in the 46-member opposition, who has been irking to join the government against the wishes of his party leader Tzipi Livni, and who has 7 MK’s from his faction that he could break off and join Likud with. Netanyahu wants to do this to break up Kadima, a 28-member faction, down to 21.

Meanwhile, another Kadima MK has thrown a monkey wrench into the shoe factory by sticking an addendum to the bill which would allow 4 MK’s to break off instead of 7. He did this because of the 4 “Labor Rebels” who are technically part of Netanyahu’s government, but sure as heck don’t want to be. They are these guys:

rebelsFrom left to right, Eitan Cabel, Amir Peretz, Yuli Tamir, and Shelly Yachimovich. If 4 can break off, then these four might break off from the 13-seat Labor faction, which Labor leader Ehud Barak, who is part of the government, sure doesn’t want, so would he support the bill? That’s the monkey wrench.

Many people don’t like these moves because they change the rules of the game in the middle of the game. Now, to get into the nitty gritty, Netanyahu also wants to pass a land reform bill which would allow private citizens to own land instead of leasing it from the Israel Lands Administration. The current set up is meant to prevent the sale of land to non Jews who may slowly buy up the state from Jews and keep it. Netanyahu, last week, failed to pass this law because various members of his coalition ran out of the plenum in the middle of the vote so it wouldn’t pass. He got angry, tabled the bill at the last second, and threatened to fire ministers who didn’t support it the next time around.

Now, the 3-member Jewish Home faction is threatening not to vote for the land reform bill round 2 if Netanyahu doesn’t support the Slomiansky Bill, another game changer meant to allow one MK from each faction to retire from the Knesset if named a minister and get his seat back if he is fired from the government. This is meant to allow Jewish Home number 4 Nissan Slomiansky into the Knesset if Jewish Home number 1 Daniel Hershkovitz, Sport Minister, retires from the Knesset.

This is a limited Norwegian Law, and the reason a full one isn’t being passed is that Netanyahu would rather be seen in his underwear than pass a full Norwegian Law that would see over 10 Likud ministers retire from the Knesset and Netanyahu’s arch enemy Moshe Feiglin get in and cause him trouble.

In return, Netanyahu is threatening not to support the Slomiansky Bill if Jewish Home doesn’t support the Land Bill (support of which is needed for it to pass), who in return is threatening not to support the Mofaz Bill if Netanyahu doesn’t support the Slomiansky bill.

SLOW DOWN!

Basically, if any of this circus makes too many people unhappy, the government falls and we go to elections again.
Meanwhile, Iran continues to build nuclear weapons. Numbers really don’t matter so much when it comes to that minor detail.

That’s it for this week’s installment of “Israeli Knesset and Me.”

Ganavim Get Sentenced: Hirschson & Benizri To Do Time

“We have to clean and sweep not under but over the carpet”, says retired Supreme Court Judge Miriam Ben-Porat on the decisions that sent Hirschson and Benizri into incarceration. Former Tel Aviv District Attorney objects: The punishment for the former Treasury Minister is too lenient, and does not get the message across.

Avraham Hirschson - 5 + Years In The Big HouseIn one day, two former Israeli government ministers are being sent to jail: Avraham Hirschson was handed down a sentence of five years and five months. Shlomo Benizri received a harsher sentence of 4 years in prison. In a conversation with Ynet, legislators fighting against corruption approve of the sentence, but there are some who claim that it should have been stiffer. Former State Comptroller, retired Supreme Court Judge Miriam Ben-Porat wonders: “Who knows how many more Hirschsons there are?

Ben Porat expressed satisfaction with the legal decisions:

“It’s good that punishment is meted out and we show that everyone is equal. Someone with a senior position should have to pay even more. Hirschson was trusted with Treasury funds and engaged in transactions for the entire country. He should have been purer than pure. It is unfortunate, he gave at least an outward impression of a man who cares, who fights for Holocaust survivors”.

She states that corruption “should be cleaned and swept – not under but over the carpet, and that’s what we’re doing now. It is difficult to know how many did not receive the punishments they deserve, because you can only conduct legal proceedings when there is evidence. Just bringing someone to trial is already a deterrent. There is still a great deal of work to be done, but matters are being dealt with as they should – with the necessary severity – and I welcome that, states Ben-Porat.

Judge Bracha Ofir-Tom referred at length to the corruption issues in Hirschson’s verdict and expressed surprise that “the same image of a good man and benefactor could turn into the image of someone who steals public funds together with his subordinates to support “the good life” he and they have become accustomed to as a lifestyle. Was it just drunken power that changed the accused’s view of the the world? Or was it unlimited greed combined with the atmosphere of neglect that took over the organization whose actions no one any longer oversaw?”

At the comptroller’s office it is said that “today the Court clearly expressed the importance of the struggle against public corruption. The comptroller’s office, which has been spearheading the Hirschson scandal from its very first stages, will continue in the struggle against public corruption, and for morality in the country, not excluding those at the top of the pyramid and including all enforcement officials. The comptroller’s office has proclaimed its views more than once, that only a process of proper investigation, followed by legal trial and severe punishment – all immediately following commitment of the crime – will help to cleanse society from the corruption that has affected it.

Retired judge Dalia Dorner is satisfied by “the appropriate legal rulings”, and believes that “they deserve retribution, not in terms of revenge, but in terms of public denunciation of acts of this kind. Fraud and theft have been with us from biblical times, but when it involves public figures, the punishment should be severe. Denunciation is most important and therefore you must take into account that a light punishment may suggest that the crime wasn’t really that bad. God help us if we broadcast that kind of message”.

In the Hirschson case, prosecution demanded a sentence of at least 7 years incarceration for the Treasury minister, who was convicted of stealing milllions, but the judge ruled a lesser sentence. The State has not yet announced whether or not it will appeal. However, then senior prosecutor in the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s office, Adv. Miriam Rosenthal, claims that that are good reasons for this: “He did not express his regret, and the difference between his sentence and the others’ is too slight,” she stated to Ynet.

“The District Court gave heavy consideration to Hirschonson’s personal circumstances,” Rosenthal added. “The punishment is fairly lenient, particularly when the other defendants, who confessed in a plea bargaining and did not waste the Court’s time – and did not spend the funds as Hirschson did, received sentences of up to five years. An extra six months is a light addition.”

When he harshened Ben Izri’s sentence, one of the Supreme Court Judges, Edmond Levy, wrote: “The rising corruption among Israeli governing authorities necessitates the action of setting a higher price…to cope with this affliction and to deter others. Words of admonishment are no longer enough. It’s time to take action.”

Adv. Rosenthal agrees that the punishment in the Ben Izri case is meant to deter – as punishments up to now have not been sufficent. “Ben Izri is not a victim,” she stresses. Despite this, there wasn’t enough in Hirschson’s conviction to get a message across.

And what’s next? Rosenthal sees a link between the two cases only in their involving two public figures who have transgressed – because their crimes are different. Ben Izri accepted a bribe; Hirschson stole. “In my opinion, the prosecution will not link these two cases. If they appeal, it will be due to the comparison between those charged and convicted in a plea bargaining and a man who was convicted after he denied the charges and went through with a trial”.

All Eyes Turn to Peres

Tomorrow, Wednesday evening, at 6 pm Jerusalem Time, President Shimon Peres will receive the official results of the general elections, which took place last week. These results will include all the votes, including the soldiers’ ballots.

Peres’ decision won’t be an easy one. Neither candidate — Binyamin Netanyahu nor Tzipi Livni — has so far managed to garner the necessary support of 61 Knesset members. Some media commentators even say jokingly(?!) that we might need to redo the elections!

So who is it going to be? Tzipi or Bibi? Too bad Mr. Obama is already taken.

Shimon Peres' Hard Choices

Communist Lawyer to Bid for Tel Aviv Mayorship

Human Narration on BNarrator.com

Dr. Dov Khenin is a respected Knesset member and is currently co-chairing the Knesset’s largest lobby, the Socio-Environmental Lobby. He’s a prominent member of the Israeli Communist Party (nowadays part of the Hadash political party).

This morning Dr. Khenin announced he’s joining the race for the mayorship of Tel Aviv. The municipal elections are set to take place on November.

City for All

This is big news for the residents of Tel Aviv, and although Dov and his Hadash party may not have much influence in the national arena, they have rather good chances to make a big impact in this seaside metropolis.

Top 10 Knesset Yawn Finalists

The official Full Mouth Yawn finalists in Knesset.

Yawn Masters in Knesset

Peres to Rosenblum – The Political Spectrum

I was watching a popular talk show last night and it was interesting to see the wide spectrum we have in the Knesset today. On the Yair Lapid Show, a talk show on Israel’s Arutz 2, there were two members of Knesset getting interviewed.

Shimon Peres on Yair Lapid

The first was Shimon Peres (82). Shimon Peres is a veteran in the political scene, an ex Prime Minster, one of the early founders of the Labour party and recently joined Kadima, Ariel Sharon’s party. He was the last one to speak to Sharon before his stroke this week and when asked whether he considered him a friend he answered that he did. Despite their rivalry over the years there is a mutual respect there.

Peres is currently writing his 14th book, is a world renowned politician and has been in the political arena for close to 60 years. He may be somewhat removed from the man on the street but no doubt is a very intelligent and a scholar. He had a good sense of humor in the show and when Yair implied that he and Benjamin Netanyahu were the most ridiculed of all MK’s, he insisted the title was rightfully his. Although mud slinging is a national sport for politicians in Israel, Peres has always tried to keep his hands clean and not respond to the many assaults he received over the years.

The interviewer asked a final question: “What would you like written on your tombstone?” Peres responded: “Passed away before his time”.

Pnina Rosenblum on Yair Lapid

The next Knesset member to be interviewed on the show was the newly appointed Likud member, Pnina Rosenblum (50). Running 39th in the Likud Primaries she got bumped into the seat when MK Tzachi Hanegbi left to join Kadima. She was sworn in 2 weeks ago and is now the latest edition to the Knesset.

Pnina was a model in the early 70’s and was known as a provocative sexy bombshell. There were affairs, rumors and scandals associated with her early years. She later started a singing career and continued on to launch a successful cosmetics company that today employs 150 people.

She was a little defensive in the interview and some of the answers to her questions were a little corky. She sees herself as a fighter for women’s rights and against discrimination (a sore subject and one that can use the attention). Her political career maybe very short as the number for the Likud party now seem to be in the low teens, implying that only 11-13 MK’s will represent the Likud after March. Until then however, Pnina is determined to do as much as she can with the time she has.

When asked what she would like to have written on her tombstone she answered: ”Here lies Pnina Rosenblum – Israel’s Prime Minister 2010-2016.”

Hey you never know …

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