Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein sent a harsh letter to all MKs, chastising them over a series of recent embarrassing occurrences both inside and out of the Knesset chambers, which he said “cheapen” the Knesset.
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Senior MKs claimed that Edelstein’s wrath was particularly directed toward MK Boaz Toporovsky (Yesh Atid), regarding a controversial image that he posted to his Facebook page early Tuesday.
The image shows Toporovsky on the couch of his Knesset office, preparing to sleep after spending the previous night discussing and voting on a law to make mandatory the appointment of women to the judges selection committee.
“It’s the first time I’ve slept at the Knesset,” wrote Toporovsky on Facebook, adding “I hope that it won’t hurt too much. Luckily, there are showers in the office.” The image stirred up a great deal of anger, and the Knesset Chairman’s office received numerous complaints about it throughout the day.
“It cannot be that an MK uploads an image in which he looks like a playboy,” said one Knesset official, adding “this harms the Knesset’s image and status.” Toporovsky, shocked by the wave of harsh responses to his post, quickly posted again on his Facebook page, writing, “from now on I’ll sleep in a suit.”
It’s not only Toporovsky that angered Edelstein, however. Edelstein’s anger was also directed at a great many others MKs that reportedly spoke on their cell phones or took pictures during Knesset proceedings (MK Shuli Moalem from Habayit Hayehudi, for example).
Edelstein was also upset with some MKs that failed to address their peers as “Knesset Member,” and specifically MK Merav Michaeli, who apparently munched on vegetables during the Knesset’s all night session.
While Knesset regulations do not forbid eating and drinking, they do forbid MKs from bringing anything with them into the chamber. “Not a single MK broke a law, but there is no doubt that their actions harm the image of the Knesset, and the truth is, complaints have also come from the public,” Edelstein asserted.
His letter mentioned that “recently, more than a few complaints have piled up in my office, relating to the conduct of some MKs. The complaints, from civilians and employees, are mostly regarding the conduct of MKs inside the Knesset chamber. Among other complaints, it came up that MKs are eating and drinking during sessions, taking pictures with, and speaking on cellular devices, or displaying captions above their stands, to show their position on an issue.”
Edelstein also wrote that “at the start of the current session, I heard that many MK’s have been addressing their peers as Mr., or Sir, or by their first name alone, and not in the manner fitting for the Knesset (adding the tittle Minister or MK before the last name of an elected official). I looked into all of these complaints, and unfortunately, I found them to be true and accurate.”
During the night of furious debates over the state budget, Edelstein called on MKs to act politely toward one another, and to display courtesy, manners, and honor toward one another. “The 19th Knesset contains a record number of new MKs, and is refreshingly different from all of its predecessors. As Knesset Chairman I see this as promise for big changes – changes to the image of legislature,” explained Edelstein.