Knesset to Take Summer Break, Despite Growing Social Protests Across Israel

Proposal by Interior Minister Eli Yishai voted down; Speaker Reuven Rivlin: Government should deal with the crisis, not the Knesset.

The Knesset will break for recess this week as planned, despite calls to cancel the break due to the ongoing nation-wide protests across Israel. The question was voted on in a meeting chaired by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. Only representatives from Shas and Kadima voted in favor of canceling the recess.

Rivlin announced Saturday his decision to bring to a vote the initiative, which was proposed by deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Eli Yishai. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni also called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Rivlin to cancel the recess. "The Knesset needs to keep working," said Kadima chairwoman. "Fixing what is happening on the streets has to be done through the Knesset."

Knesset - Michal Fattal - 18072011
Michal Fattal

"The Knesset is not taking the protests lightly," Rivlin said. "But the government is tasked with solving (the crisis), not the Knesset." Rivlin also pointed to other considerations such as Ramadan and the summer vacation. "If during the recess the Israeli government takes economic or social steps that require the Knesset's approval, I will convene it immediately," he said.

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al chairman and deputy Knesset Speaker), said that the proposal is a populist one. "The Knesset can be convened at any time during the recess," he said. "That is how it was and that is how it will be. You should remember this is the month of Ramadan."