The Ministerial Committee on Legislation voted Sunday to advance a bill that would prohibit smoking in playgrounds and in the entrance to nursery schools.
The bill, which was proposed by Yesh Atid MK Yoel Razbozov, is expected to pass its preliminary reading in the Knesset Wednesday and then must pass in a Knesset committee and twice more in the plenum to become law.
If the bill passes, parks will join shopping malls, restaurants, swimming pools, synagogue courtyards, covered bus stations and open-air light-rail stations among places where smoking has been banned.
Fines of NIS 1,000 are given to the smokers who violate the law and NIS 5,000 fines are given to the owners of public premises who do not enforce the law on their property. But municipalities such as Jerusalem have been lax in enforcing the laws.
The Health Ministry estimates that 10,000 Israelis die of smoking each year – 1,000 of them nonsmokers exposed passively to the smoke of others.
Also on Sunday, the ministerial committee approved an increase in aid money for Holocaust survivors. The amendment to the Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets Law increases aid funding to Holocaust survivors from NIS 100 million to NIS 135 million, annually.
The amendment shortens the Holocaust Restitution Company’s period of operations, so that it would end at the end of 2017 instead of the end of 2021. Any assets the company has left unclaimed by the end of 2017 will be used for further aid to Holocaust survivors that need it.
“You cannot over estimate the important of locating assets belonging to Holocaust victims and transferring them to their heirs, but at the same time we have an obligation to do whatever we can to aid survivors living amongst us,” said Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who proposed the amendment.
The committee also advanced bills that would limit the price hospitals could charge for parking and require kennels to neuter dogs before they are adopted.Yaara Shalom and Judy Siegel contributed to this report.
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