Bills on US Visa Travel and Tel Aviv Metro Nixed
On Monday, hours before the closing of the Knesset for election recess, the negotiations between the opposition and the coalition broke down. This saw some vital pieces of legislation, such as the addition of Israel in the Visa Waiver Program of the US and the construction of a metro system in Tel Aviv, get nixed. Boaz Toporovsky, the coalition whip, had led the negotiations with the opposition. A spokesperson of his said that there had been no agreements on these pieces of legislation, so they will not come up.
The last two weeks have seen the opposition and coalition negotiators battling each other in order to hammer out agreements over the last bills that would be passed before the 24th Knesset heads for elections. Each of them have been strong arming the other over the bills that would be passed.
While bills can also be passed during the break, the election recess rules state that they can be brought to the plenum floor with the support of the opposition. This means that until a 25th Knesset is formed, they will not be able to do anything.
The Knesset had disbanded last week on Thursday and new elections were triggered. These would be the fifth round of elections for Israel in less than four years and have been scheduled for November 1st. The decision was made after three months of political turmoil in the country.
Eventually, former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and then Foreign Minister Yair Lapid had announced on June 20th that they had decided to dissolve the Knesset.
Plenum session resumed
After the vote to disperse the Knesset was completed on Thursday, the plenum session had gone on and about 40 bills were advanced by the MKs and approved. However, they had eventually run out of time for dealing with all the bills, so the final plenum session was scheduled for Monday.
However, the Monday session saw the opposition and the coalition fail to come to an agreement on the legislation for the Metro and the US Visa Waiver Program. There was also a meeting of the House Committee on Monday, which sent the Knesset into recess formally from Tuesday.
On Monday, only two pieces of legislation were sent to the plenum and they were able to clear their first readings, as the coalition and the opposition had already agreed upon them.
The two bills
The two pieces of legislation that cleared their first reading included one aimed at ensuring restraining order compliance by domestic abusers via GPS-enabled monitoring. This will be applicable to almost 1,600 offenders. Every year, almost 10,000 requests for a restraining order are filed and 90% get approval.
The second bill that the MKs advanced would require the use of video cameras by the police when they disperse crowds through water cannons. This will partly be useful when claims for damages are filed in civil court. The Tel Aviv metro bill had also cleared its first reading, but was not taken forward. The US visa-free travel bill had not had a reading.