Bill urges transparency in programs for veterans, families

MKs call for "routine procedures" to supervise activities of the department for rehabilitation and commemoration.

By DAN IZENBERG
January 18, 2010 07:59
2 minute read.

 
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The Ministerial Legislation Committee on Sunday approved a bill obliging the Defense Minister to report to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee once each year on the program of the departments responsible for the families of soldiers who died in uniform and for the care of disabled veterans.

The bill was initiated by Yisrael Hasson (Kadima), Moshe Matalon (Israel Beiteinu), Haim Katz and Yariv Levin (Likud) and Eitan Cabel (Labor).

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In a letter of explanation urging the committee members to support the bill, the MKs wrote that "we learned that for at least the past 10 years, there have been no routine and satisfactory procedures for supervising and monitoring the activities of the department for rehabilitating disabled war veterans and the department for bereaved families and commemoration.

According to the proposal, the minister of defense will have to report to the committee at the beginning of each year on the departments' work programs, budget distribution, criteria for decisions and other matters.

The bill was supported by the Zahal Disabled Veterans' Organization and the Yad Labanim organization.

The committee also supported a bill initiated by Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and a long list of MKs prohibiting the display of unleavened goods (hametz) anywhere in which large numbers of people gather, whether on the street or in public buildings such as supermarkets.

According to the current Passover Law (officially called the Holiday of Matzot Law,) bread or other unleavened goods may not be sold "in public."

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In 1988, Judge Tamar Bar-Asher of the Jerusalem Local Affairs Court ruled that "in public" meant on the street or in places not owned privately. Her decision caused an uproar which Schneller's proposal is meant to resolve.

According to the bill, the term "in public" will be defined as meaning "a street, building, place or means of transportation which the public has access to either freely or in return for payment, and any building or place which hosts, at that moment, a public or religious assembly or a courthouse which is open to the public." Another bill, proposed by MK Lia Shemtov (Yisrael Beiteinu) and approved by the committee, would oblige any business employing 30 or more workers to provide facilities for the recycling of paper, plastic, glass and batteries. Anyone ignoring the legislation would be fined.

The committee rejected a bill submitted by Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) who proposed obliging every public building to supply ashtrays at the entrance so that smokers would have somewhere to snuff out their cigarettes before entering the smoke-free structure. Orbach said that at present, smokers throw their butts on the ground in front of the entrance "causing dirt, blocking sewage pipes and ruining plants and pots." The committee also rejected a bill initiated by Carmel Shama (Likud), Moshe Matalon (Yisrael Beiteinu), Aryeh Bibi (Kadima) and Aryeh Eldad (National Union Party) calling for the death penalty for anyone who killed a child 13-years-old or younger.

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