Photo Credit:
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko (L) with Speaker Edelstein and President Rivlin. Photo: Itzik Harari, Courtesy

The Winter Assembly of the 20th Knesset’s second session will officially end on Sunday, April 3, 2016. During this assembly, the Knesset plenum has passed more than 110 laws, including an amendment to the Penal Code which stiffens punishments for stone throwers; a law requiring lobbyists to register for each Knesset committee session they attend, including their personal information and the entity they represent; a law limiting the pay of executives in the financial sector; an environmental law banning the free distribution of plastic shopping bags by supermarkets; a law recognizing paramedical degrees obtained abroad; and an amendment to the Entry into Israel Law that significantly increases fines and prison sentences for people who transport, accommodate or employ illegal residents.

Some 120 foreign delegations visited the Knesset during the Winter Assembly, which was longer than usual, since this is a Jewish leap year. Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addressed the Knesset plenum. Also visited, but did not speak: Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis; Georgian President Giorgi Margelashvili; Russian Federation Council head Valentina Matvienko; Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives; Armah Zolu Jallah, President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate; President of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies Marco Antonio Nunez Lozano; Cypriot Parliament President Yiannakis L. Omirou; Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama; Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández; Speaker of Malta’s House of Representatives Angelo Farrugia; and Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos.

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On April 4, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein is scheduled to meet with the new Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan.

During the Winter Assembly the Knesset marked World Autism Awareness Day, National Science Day, Animal Rights Day, International Women’s Day, Salute to Israel Police Day, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Road Safety Day, Gay Community Rights Day, and Health Day.

As part of the “Green Knesset” project, the Knesset recently switched to 100% recycled paper and launched a unique electronic monitor which displays, in real time, the activity of the solar field located on the parliament’s roof. During the Winter Assembly, the Knesset also took several measures aimed at increasing the transparency of its work to the general public.

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