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Rivlin, PM agree to stop legislation until vote
By LAHAV HARKOV
12/12/2012
Major bill on economic concentration is postponed until February, at the earliest.
 
The government will not call Knesset meetings to pass legislation until after the January 22 election, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin announced on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accepted Rivlin’s request Monday night that the government not work on bills during the election campaign.

“At this transitional time, the Knesset should not make long-term decisions,” Rivlin explained. “MKs and parties are busy with the election and might fall into impropriety in legislating; therefore, it is preferable to postpone passing bills until the next Knesset.”

Bills that would have been brought to a vote during the Knesset’s election recess must be government-proposed.

One of the bills pushed off until February, at the earliest, would not allow illegal migrants to send money abroad. In addition, any Israeli found helping migrants send funds out of the country would face a fine or prison sentence.

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Other legislation includes an economic concentration bill, approved in its first reading in July. Knesset Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said the following month that “real structural change” would be needed for it to pass into law.

If passed, the law would enforce separation of financial and non-financial holdings by prohibiting control of financial institutions by large non-financial corporations. A large financial corporation is defined as one with at least NIS 40 billion in assets under management and at least NIS 6b. in Israeli sales.

In addition, new companies would be forced to limit pyramid structures to a maximum of two public levels, but existing companies would be permitted to maintain pyramids of up to three public levels.

Labor slammed the decision to postpone legislation, specifically because of the economic concentration bill.

“Netanyahu has proven for the fifth time this week that the upcoming election allows him to make whatever decisions are comfortable for him,” MK Avishay Braverman (Labor) said. “The election won’t stop his government from giving tax benefits worth billions, cancel the increase in dairy prices and declare a fake cancellation of public transportation fees, but when it comes to an agreement with nurses [on strike] or significant laws in the area of market concentration, he cannot deal with them because of the election.”

According to Braverman, Netanyahu is postponing the bill because he will not be able to “soften and melt” recommendations made by a government-appointed committee on economic concentration, since the public’s eyes are on him.

The topics the committee discussed, like the cost of living, are those that led to the 2011 social protests and will be on citizens’ minds when they vote, the Labor MK added.
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