Opposition MKs propose 'complimentary' social bills

Social NGOs and politicians cooperate to move social protests "from the tents to the Knesset" with bills complimenting Trajtenberg proposals.

October 26, 2011 17:47
2 minute read.
A social protest march in Tel Aviv.

social protest silent march 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/ Nir Elias)

Opposition MKs have signed on to an initiative to promote social bills inspired by this summer’s mass protests when the Knesset’s winter session begins Monday.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Shatil - Leading Social Change, Yedid - The Association for Community Empowerment and other NGOs are encouraging “complementary legislation” to the steps recommended by the Trajtenberg Committee, in a campaign called “Moving from the Tents to the Knesset.”

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“We call on MKs and members of the government to complete the social change and join our initiative to promote a new social budget as well as social bills on housing, education, health and employment,” Shatil spokeswoman Ilanit Elul explained.

“We want to move the action from the streets to the Knesset in order to give the demands for social justice a legal standing.”

The initiative involves proposing numerous bills on a specific topic that will be presented to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation in the same week “in order to create a critical mass that will bring real change.”

Every few weeks, the social organizations will focus on a different topic and encourage MKs to address housing, health and other subjects in parliamentary questions, motions for the agenda and conferences in the Knesset.

They also plan to monitor MKs’ votes on social matters.

As of Wednesday, only opposition MKs signed on to the initiative, although Elul said the organizations contacted all of the Knesset’s factions.

Next week, seven bills on housing will be presented to the ministerial committee.

One, drafted by Kadima MK Ya’acov Edri, suggests that a building with more than 50 housing units must make 20 percent of the apartments under 100 square meters so will be affordable to young couples.

Another, by MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima), proposes cancelling value-added tax on the first home a young couple purchases.

“When the protests broke out, coalition and opposition members expressed their support for the demonstrators’ demands,” Elul explained.

“As the new Knesset session begins, they have a chance to prove to the public that they paid attention to the public’s needs, and that they plan to act in order to bring a significant improvement to citizens’ quality of life.”

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