The Knesset's summer term began on May 1 and ended on Sunday, July 30. During the term, 47 bills passed their second and third readings and became law; 83 bills passed their first reading; and 194 bills passed their preliminary reading.
A number of these laws were part of the package that constituted Israel's 2023-2024 national budget, which passed into law on May 24.
Judicial reform – specifically, the Law to Cancel the Reasonableness Standard – took up a large amount of attention following the budget. The reform led to social turmoil and extreme partisanship between the coalition and opposition. But on a number of occasions, the coalition and opposition came together in order to pass legislation considered by both sides as being beneficial to all citizens. But what were some of the other bills that passed through Israel's legislature during the summer term with support across the aisle?
The Hi-Tech Law
A sweeping law to incentivize foreign investments in Israel's hi-tech sector passed into law on July 26. The law addressed a major problem that exists in the country’s hi-tech sector: that companies grow and leave, and that some major corporations refrain from opening offices in Israel in the first place. The law passed its first reading in the previous Knesset, and the current Knesset pushed it through.
The law includes three main components, which apply both to individual and corporate investors and to some of the companies themselves. The first part postpones the payment of tax on capital gains, based on the assumption that these funds will be reinvested in start-up companies. It also provides a tax credit to investments in start-ups.
The second component allows for investments to be considered as expenses for large international corporations who buy controlling shares of hi-tech companies in the country, while also allowing for the payments to spread over five years, thereby reducing their tax burden. This makes Israeli start-ups more attractive for would-be investors.
The third and final component of the law gives a tax exemption on interest accumulated from foreign financial entities, and a discount for Israel-based financing.
The Electronic Bracelet Law
The Electronic Bracelet Law, which passed its final hurdle on Sunday, allows Israeli courts, in some cases, to impose technological supervision methods on domestic abusers via an electronic monitoring device, which will allow for the person under surveillance to be continuously monitored in real time. This bill also passed its first reading in the previous Knesset.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir at first refrained from advancing the law due to the possibility of "false complaints", but the law eventually proceeded with amendments to the initial version that Ben-Gvir claimed were "more precise."
The bill enables the use of the device and lays out conditions for its use. These include the court being convinced that it is necessary to protect a family member due to a real fear of violating a restraining order, or if the defendant has had a prior conviction for using violence or violating a previous restraining order.
However, the court will also be allowed to order a defendant to be placed under electronic monitoring if it is convinced of that person's “dangerousness.” If even that is not met, the court can still order the defendant to wear electronic monitoring devices for 10 days, with the possibility of extending it another six days.
The bill also includes a cap on the number of "dangerousness" assessments allowed per year – a provision that drew criticism from the opposition.
The Disabled Veterans Bill
The Knesset on Sunday also passed a bill to increase and improve benefits for disabled IDF veterans or victims of terror attacks. The improvements included lowering the minimum level of disability required to qualify for state assistance in buying a home, from 50% to 35%; extended the period of state assistance in paying rent, from three years to six years; and making permanent certain benefits that were passed as temporary benefits in previous Knesset terms.
Anti-Crime and Anti-Terror Laws
The Knesset also passed a number of bills aimed at reducing crime and fighting terror. These include a law to increase the punishment for sexual crimes carried out for nationalist reasons; the "Protection Law," which codifies and sets the punishment for attempts by criminal gangs to extort money from farmers and small business owners in exchange for "protection"; a law against reemployment of people who were convicted of violence against minors; and more.