Knesset c'tee to debate Sinai fence

Bills also filed on the legal status of children of foreign workers.

By DAN IZENBERG
July 11, 2010 01:45
3 minute read.
Children of foreign workers in Israel

Children of foreign workers in Israel. (photo credit: Courtesy of 'Israeli Children')

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation will debate Sunday a bill calling on Israel to build a security fence along the Egyptian border.

The bill was submitted by MKs from the National Union, United Torah Judaism, Kadima, Israel Beiteinu and Likud.

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Ya’acov Katz (National Union) wrote that legislation is needed given how easy it is for terrorists to cross the border between the Sinai Desert and Gaza because most of it is unprotected.

He referred to a terrorist attack in January 2007 in Eilat in which three Israelis were killed to prove his point. The terrorist started off from Gaza and reached Eilat via Egypt.

MKs have filed similar legislation at least three times in the past few years, but the government has opposed the initiatives.

A group of MKs headed by Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) has also filed a bill which calls for granting residential status to children currently living in Israel if they fulfill a number of conditions, including that the child must be born in Israel, speak Hebrew, be enrolled or have completed school and has integrated into society.

According to the bill, once the child fulfills the conditions, they, as well as their parents and siblings, will be able to receive permanent residency status. The bill is aimed at solving the problem of some of the 1,200 children of foreign workers who face the threat of deportation at the end of the year because they lack legal status here.

Another bill to be debated by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation is sponsored by Shas MKs Avraham Michaeli and Yitzhak Vaknin and would examine all members of the Falash Mura community in Gondar, Ethiopia, who appear on one of three lists drawn up by aliya activists since 1999. The government has agreed only to investigate applications from the camp residents who live according to Jewish law, are matrilineal descendants from a Jewish mother and appear on a list drawn up by Yaakov Efrati and Rabbi Menahem Waldman in 1999.

Almost all of the people on this list have immigrated to Israel. Nonetheless, thousands whose applications have not been examined by the government remain in Gondar or the outlying villages. The bill specifically calls for examining the applications of Falash Mura in Gondar whose names appear on two lists from 2005 and 2007.

The government has refused to do so.

A bill aimed at former Balad chairman Azmi Bishara calls for stopping salary, pension and other payments to MKs who refuse to show up for police investigations, trials or prison sentences in connection with crimes or suspected crimes for which the punishment is five years or more. Bishara fled from Israel after police began to investigate him on suspicion that he spied for Hizbullah in Lebanon.

The committee will also discuss a bill sponsored by MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) providing that non-profit organizations that receive a dividend from the income of commercial companies that they set up to help fund their activities, will not have to pay taxes on the dividend.

Attorney Yaron Kedar, a former registrar of non-profit organizations, wrote in support of the bill that the economic crisis that started in late 2008 badly hurt non-profit organizations, because contributions dropped drastically.

The current bill would help the nonprofit organizations continue to function and maintain their independence by not having to rely on government subsidies to continue operating.


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