The Social Guard’s Knesset Update for the week of November 23rd, 2014: a weekly summary of what’s on the Knesset’s socio-economic agenda brought to you by the Social Guard in the Knesset, the Israeli public’s voice for transparency, democracy, and social justice.
This Week in the Ministers’ Committee – The committee voted against expanding dental care for children and against increased oversight of natural gas prices. The Governmental Ministers Committee rejected measures that would guarantee dental care up to age 18, increase oversight over natural gas prices, and remove geographical restrictions on who can perform Kashrut certification. The Social Guard is committed to maintaining a vigilant observance of the Ministers’ Committee and to increasing the level of its transparency, in particular to encouraging the publishment of meeting protocols to the general public.
Social Guard Staff Member Publishes Editorial in Jerusalem Post about the "Arrangements Law" – Harris Engelmann, the Social Guard’s Community Outreach Coordinator, wrote an opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post describing how the current law weakens democratic debate in Israel and calling for its reform.
Event on Socio-Economic Policymaking Held in Partnership with the Taub Center in Jerusalem – the Social Guard and the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Jerusalem held an event on Wednesday night discussing challenges and possibilities for new directions in Socio-Economic Policies in Israel. The event was part of the Social Guard’s efforts to reach out to more citizens throughout Israel and to encourage critical debate around challenging economic issues.
Social Guard and Leading Israeli Blog Begin Campaign to Ensure the Closure of Holot Detention Facility – The Social Guard has begun a new partnership with "The Hottest Place in Hell", a leading Israeli Blog Site, on a campaign that aims to make sure that the government closes the Holot Detention Facility, where thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers and refugees are held, as per the supreme court’s decision earlier this year. Members of the coalition are attempting to fast-track bills that would prevent the closure of Holot and possibly cause asylum seekers to receive even heavier penalties.
Observer Report of the Week: Chaos around the Health Ministry’s Budget – This week, one of the Social Guard’s volunteer observers attended a finance committee debate in which Health Minister Yael German presented the 2015 budget for the Health Ministry. Notably, the Health Department’s budget has the second largest increase of any ministry, after that of the Security and Defense Ministry. Much of the discussion at the committee resembled a game of “Where’s the Money?” – that is, from where this increase was coming and how it was being spent. To the observer, it was clear that the was a significant connection between the individual committee members’ private interests and funding for specific projects, and that much of the funding for specific improvements in healthcare is susceptible to the type of budget wheeling-and-dealing made possible by the Arrangements Law. Read the full report here [Hebrew].