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Knesset to convene for special session Tuesday; overhaul bills not on agenda

The Knesset will convene for a special session on Tuesday, in line with demands by opposition members to hold a floor debate ahead of the parliament’s mid-October return from recess.

During the special session, the coalition is set to advance three government-sponsored bills: on prisoner parole, handling of medical gases, and registering biometric data. No bills of the coalition’s judicial overhaul are set to advance.

A spokesperson for coalition whip MK Ofir Katz said the session’s timing is largely due to the opposition’s request for a debate (although the coalition needs to update parole regulations before their October 15 expiration, a day before the first plenum session of the Knesset’s winter session).

Tuesday’s session, beginning at 11 a.m., will be the second special session since the Knesset broke for the summer at the end of July. Coalition sources said they expect a further special session between the Jewish holidays of Yom Kippur and Sukkot, placing the session toward the end of September.

Preceding the votes, the opposition has scheduled floor debates on the effects of the judicial overhaul, the significance of Haredi parties’ desire to enshrine Torah study through legislation as being on par with national service, and rampant crime in Arab society. Floor debates are televised, but do not end in votes and carry little parliamentary weight.

In addition to extending parole ordinances, which are expected to be finalized into law on Tuesday, the coalition is scheduled to advance two other government-sponsored bills past their first votes.

MK Ofir Katz, chairman of the Knesset House Committee, leads a hearing, March 12, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Proposed as a temporary, three-year rule, one bill would streamline application procedures required for issuing biometric identification documents by increasing the types of civil servants eligible to issue biometric documents. Currently, only employees of the Population and Immigration Authority can issue the documents. This has held up production of passports and other documents during periods of high demand.

A second bill would update a health ordinance to regulate the handling of medical gases.

Responsibly covering this tumultuous time

As The Times of Israel’s political correspondent, I spend my days in the Knesset trenches, speaking with politicians and advisers to understand their plans, goals and motivations.

I’m proud of our coverage of this government’s plans to overhaul the judiciary, including the political and social discontent that underpins the proposed changes and the intense public backlash against the shakeup.

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