Cabinet sitting down Knesset 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
As MKs continued discussing budget cuts on Thursday, the Knesset spent NIS
18,000 to hold committee meetings in a location more convenient for the
lawmakers than Jerusalem, to the dismay of Jerusalemite party
Three meetings, two of the Knesset Finance Committee and one
of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, were held in Kfar Hamaccabia
in Ramat Gan Thursday, even though each committee has its own large,
air-conditioned room with Wi-Fi in the Knesset.
Renting a hall for each
meeting holding 50 people costs NIS 6,000. A Knesset usher must travel to Ramat
Gan and the Knesset provides refreshments for the MKs.
MKs on the
committees requested that the meetings be held in the Tel Aviv area, rather than
in Jerusalem, on Thursdays.
Their reasoning is that no votes are held in
the plenum on Thursdays, and the day is often dedicated to party
Several of the MKs on the committees – such as Reuven
Rivlin (Likud Beytenu), Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud Beytenu), Erel Margalit (Labor),
and Ya’acov Litzman (UTJ) – live in the Jerusalem area.
Council party Hitorerut sent a letter to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein,
complaining that the expense is outrageous and insulting to Jerusalem as the
capital of Israel.
“Throughout history, Jerusalem was the center of the
world and the spiritual and physical center for all nations,” wrote Hitorerut
deputy chairman Hanan Rubin. “It is not coincidental that the Knesset is in
According to Rubin, moving discussions from the Knesset to
other places for reasons of convenience is unacceptable and opposes Basic Law:
The Knesset, even if it is for just one day a week.