Knesset Committee Holds Meeting With No MKs Present

Zero members of the Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee were around to hear about budget issues facing activities for the Ethiopian community.

Olivier Fitoussi

The Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs held a meeting on Monday despite the fact that no committee members were present. Committee Chairman MK Avraham Nagosa (Likud) was present at first, but left mid-meeting in order to vote in a different committee meeting, though he allowed guests that had attended the meeting to continue speaking in his absence.

"In retrospect, I think I should have ended the meeting. I learned something from this incident," said Nagosa on Monday, adding that he was forced to leave the meeting to be present at the other vote.

A Knesset source noted that Nagosa acted against Knesset bylaws, and that he should have ended the meeting, or found another MK to preside over it in his absence. The meeting focused on the fact that only a third of Ethiopian Israelis entitled to youth group activities are actually receiving them due to budget issues.   

The Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs is comprised of ten MKs, including Isaac Herzog and Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union), Michael Oren and Tali Ploskov (Kulanu), Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas), Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi), Sofa Landver (Yisrael Beiteinu) and Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid). Herzog, Oren and Ploskov stated that they attended votes in other committees at the same time.

"Knesset members, myself included, sit on numerous committees that sometimes conduct meetings at the same time. In a coalition of 61 MKs, parliamentary work is particularly difficult, and it's hard to prevent situations like these," said Nagosa.

During the meeting itself, Roni Akale, director general of the Ethiopian National Project said that "the Ethiopian committee includes 136,000 people, including 18,000 youths between the ages of 13 and 18. Currently, we only manage to reach about a third of them due to budget issues. The youth centers we run operate in the afternoons and provide enrichment activities meant to keep youth off the streets, and out of trouble."