Electronic bracelet bill passes first reading in final Knesset plenum

A number of bills passed their first reading in the 24th Knesset's final plenum on Monday, including a bill that will force domestic abusers with restraining orders to wear a tracking device.

An empty Knesset Plenum  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
An empty Knesset Plenum
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The Knesset plenum met for a final time on Monday afternoon and is now officially in recess. The Knesset brought forward a number of bills that both sides agreed upon but had not passed during Wednesday’s marathon session.

Tracking bracelets

The first bill that passed its first reading was a bill that requires confirmed domestic abusers for whom a protection order has been issued to wear electronic tracking bracelets.

The bill was officially a bill put forward by the government, but it was attached to five other similar bills proposed by MKs from across the political spectrum, including Joint List Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash) and Keren Barak (Likud).

The Knesset passed the bill in its initial reading last Thursday. It was then debated in the Knesset Public Security Committee, led by MK Merav Ben-Ari (Yesh Atid).

 Committee chairman Merav Ben Ari leads Internal security committee meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem on June 13, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Committee chairman Merav Ben Ari leads Internal security committee meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem on June 13, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

"Today we took a significant step on the path to fixing society, and helping women who are victims of domestic violence."

MK Naama Lazimi

“Today we took a significant step on the path to fixing society, and helping women who are victims of domestic violence,” MK Naama Lazimi (Labor) said after the bill passed.

“In a reality where every few weeks a woman is murdered, we have an obligation to do all we can to keep them safe,” she added.

By passing the bill in its first reading, the next Knesset will be able to continue the legislative process from where it was left off and will not need to start the process from the beginning.

Water cannon bill

Another bill that passed its first reading in the plenum on Monday was a bill that will require the Israel Police to videotape any use of water cannons.

The “water cannon” bill was also an effort shared by coalition and opposition MKs, including Uri Maklev (UTJ), Gaby Lasky (Meretz) and Joint List’s Osama Saadi (Ta’al).

Israeli Police uses water cannon to disperse demonstrators during protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)Israeli Police uses water cannon to disperse demonstrators during protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Water cannons were used in recent years during protests against former prime minister and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud). They have also been used in a number of haredi protests and against protesters from the Arab-Israeli sector.

Metro Law

A final attempt to bring forward the Metro Law failed. The law aims to set a framework for expanding Tel Aviv’s budding light-railway network into a subway system. It also aims to make the Metro project a national priority. This will force municipalities and private companies that own land or are involved in the project to put it above any other local or private ventures.

“I think it is a mistake not to bring [forward] the Metro Law, it sends the wrong message, a message that politics come before citizens, that politics come before substantial considerations that benefit the economy,” Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) said at the start of his party’s weekly faction meeting.

"I think it is a mistake not to bring [forwards] the Metro Law, it sends the wrong message, a message that politics come before citizens, that politics come before substantial considerations that benefit the economy."

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman

Fruit and vegetable custom taxes

Another vote that was supposed he plenum on Monday was a vote on directives issued by Agriculture Minister Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu) to lower custom taxes on imported fruit and vegetables.

The directives were opposed by MKs from a number of parties, including MKs Yinon Azulay (Shas), Moshe Gafni (UTJ), Ram Shefa (Labor) and Yair Golan (Meretz), who claimed that they would damage Israeli agriculture.

However, shortly before the vote a deal was reached between the Finance and Agriculture ministries and the MKs and representatives of Israel’s farmers. The deal included an increase in direct state assistance to the farmers as well as investements in agricultural development, subsidies on water rates and easier procedures to hire foreign workers.

"Whoever votes against the directives must understand that he is voting in favor of high costs of living."

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman

“There is an agreement on the agricultural reform!” Forer wrote on Twitter.

“Everyone understood that they needed to contribute to the struggle to lower the proce of living.

“Israeli citizens will enjoy varied, cheaper agricultural produce throughout the year,” Forer wrote.

“Today, before the Knesset stands an important decision and is the true test for all those who speak about the high cost of living,” Liberman said. “Whoever votes against the directives must understand that he is voting in favor of high costs of living,” he said.

As the Knesset is now in recess, an “Agreements Committee” will decide when and if the plenum will convene. The committee is made up of one MK from the coalition and one from the opposition.

However, a request by the government or by at least 25 MKs can also cause the plenum to convene.