Bill passed to extend maternity leave by two weeks

A preliminary reading of a bill that would extend mothers' maternity leave by two weeks - thus rounding it off to four months - was approved by the Knesset plenum on Wednesday. A year ago, the Knesset extended the leave period from 12 to 14 weeks. But MK Dov Kheinin (Hadash), who led the previous legislation as well as this one, said this was not enough. "The amendment that was made last year brought Israel to the level demanded by international health organizations. [But] many countries in the world have advanced much farther than this minimal level and Israel mustn't remain behind on this crucial issue." The new bill, he said, was good for the wellbeing of children, women and families and for society as a whole.