Lobbyists Barred From Showing Up at MKs’ Offices Uninvited

Move follows restrictions on lobbyists' movement in Knesset building two years ago.

Olivier Fitoussi

Lobbyists will no longer be able to show up at a Knesset member’s office without an appointment, whether they are seeking to talk to the MK or to aides.

On Wednesday, Knesset security chief Joseph Griff said an order to that effect had been issued following a decision by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. Griff said the change followed complaints from MKs and after the issue was considered by the Knesset Ethics Committee. The committee members felt the practice of lobbyists showing up unannounced did harm to the dignity of parliament and MKs, and even put lawmakers in “circumstances at times in which they were forced into an uncomfortable situation in their offices,” Griff said.

The latest restrictions on Knesset lobbyists follow curbs placed on the lobbyists’ presence in the Knesset building by Edelstein’s predecessor as speaker, Reuven Rivlin, who will be taking office as Israel’s president next month. Two years ago, Rivlin barred lobbyists from entering the Knesset cafeteria as well as the offices of the speaker, the director general, the parliamentary secretary, the legal department and the Knesset research center, among other locations in the building. There are about 140 lobbyists with passes to enter the building, and nearly all the major companies in the country have lobbyists to represent their interests with legislators.