Rivlin: Knesset neglected social issues for many years

Social justice protests put long-ignored affairs on the table, says Knesset speaker; Knesset winter session to open with Schalits and Leef present.

Knesset vote 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Knesset vote 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) said Monday that the Knesset has neglected dealing with the country's social issues for many years, in an interview Israel Radio.
He added that thanks to the social justice protests, social issues are now being raised for discussion.
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The Knesset's winter session will begin on Monday with a festive meeting in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Rivlin and Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni will address the plenum, while Daphni Leef and the Schalit family are expected to attend.
Some of the guests at the special opening meeting reflect the major events of recent months, and some expected legislative trends for the new session.
Noam and Aviva Schalit, parents of recently released captive soldier Gilad Schalit, were invited to the Knesset. Some MKs have expressed opposition to prisoner exchanges, such as the one in which Schalit was returned to Israel, saying they would propose bills to limit or prevent them in the future.
MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said on Sunday that, while she respects the Schalit family, Rivlin should have also invited "bereaved families, in which those who murdered their loved ones were released in the deal [to release Schalit]."
Daphni Leef and other leaders of this summer's social demonstrations, which continued on Saturday night, are also expected to attend Monday's meeting in an attempt to "bring the protests to the Knesset."
A booth in which MKs and visitors can vote for the Dead Sea as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World will be installed in the morning.
Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov encouraged all to vote, saying that "a win in the competition will make the Israeli tourism product unique, bring investments in helping the sea and the area surrounding it, and will bring hundreds of thousands of tourists to Israel."
MK Eitan Kabel (Labor), speaking with Israel Radio ahead of the opening session, said that it is his party's duty to try to overthrow the government and called on all other parties in the opposition to cooperate in working toward that end.
Kabel also said he believes that the Knesset winter session will be one of great hope for the Labor Party.