Knesset Capers: New kids on the block
"Rookie" MKs Shai Piron and Ayelet Shaked arrive at the Knesset on the first day of orientation.
Knesset Photo: Marc Israel Sellem
On the first day of orientation for the record-number 48 new members of the 19th
Knesset, Yesh Atid’s Shai Piron and Bayit Yehudi’s Ayelet Shaked are gingerly
walking down the main corridor trying to find their offices.
“I knew mine
was around here somewhere, With all that information they’re piling on, I’m just
a little confused,” says Shaked, as she opens Fuad Ben- Eliezer’s door by
accident, receives an angry glare from its occupant and quickly closes
“I can’t find mine either,” says Piron.
“If I could just find
Yair’s. I know that it’s next to his – in a corner... and it’s much
“Yeah, I think mine is in Naftali’s jacket closet,” Shaked
They bump into Labor’s Merav Michaeli and Likud Beytenu’s Yair
Shamir at the stairwell, looking at a hand-posted sign. Joining them, they read,
“FOR SALE – One Knesset attendance sheet, barely used. Call Ehud
“How’s your first day going?” asks Shamir. “If you have any
questions let me know. When my abba was here, I used to run wild around the
place. I can show you the room where he used to take naps – believe me, it will
come in useful.”
Shaked pulled out a sheet of official Knesset
“Are any of you taking one of these sessions? These two look
interesting,” she says pointing to two classes being offered for the freshmen
MKs – “Maritime Skills by Haneen Zoabi” and “Ethical Loopholes – A joint seminar
by Tzachi Hanegbi and Arye Deri.”
“I don’t know if I’ll have time,” says
Michaeli. “I signed up with Shelly for the ‘How to Transition from Celebrity to
MK’ workshop with Nachman Shai.”
“Nice, I better tell Yair about that
one,” says Shaked, as the four fresh legislators continue down the
After passing by Tzipi Livni and Zehava Gal-On – who smirk and
snicker “Rookies” under their breath – they encounter another sign posted on the
wall. It reads: “New MKs – Remember to always carry your ID card with you – You
can be checked at any time.”
“What’s that all about?” asks
“Oh, never mind that, it’s just Yvette,” explains Shamir.
“Since he quit as foreign minister, he doesn’t have much to do, so he’s
sharpening his bouncer skills.”
Shaked and Piron exchange quizzical
glances, and Shamir puts his arms around them.
“My new friends, let’s go
to the cafeteria – all the journalists are there. If you want to succeed in this
business, you have to get your name out there, and the cafeteria is the perfect
place for it. Just be careful, don’t eat the food.”
Continuing down the
corridor, they pass more veteran MKs in the hallway.
Most ignore them,
but when they get to Ruby Rivlin, who’s walking with Amir Peretz, the Knesset
speaker enthusiastically greets them with bear hugs.
“Now, don’t you
worry about the oldtimers – they might appear ornery, but they’ll warm up to
you,” he says with a wink. “Did anyone tell you about the lunchtime sing-down?”
The MKs shake their head in puzzlement.
“It’s no big deal, but all the
new MKs need to stand up on a table during lunch and sing a song from their
childhood youth group. I’m sure you’ll do fine,” says Rivlin, giving Michaeli a
pinch on the cheek before walking off with Peretz. The newbies can hear them
guffawing and slapping each other on the back as they turn a corner.
he putting us on?” asks Shaked nervously, as her colleagues, even Shamir,
respond in silence. They trudge on toward the cafeteria and come across a line
of bearded, black-suited men wearing kippot and standing in a single file behind
Eli Yishai who’s in the middle of a lecture.
“Now, you don’t do anything
– vote, choose salad or chicken, or make any decision of any kind without my
consent. I have the direct line to Rav Ovadia, I’m number one on the
list, not Deri – remember that,” says Yishai sternly to his group of veteran
When he sees the four MKs, he immediately falls silent, and he
leads his group past them. The last in line – seemingly lost and unable to
locate his own faction room – is the one new United Torah Judaism MK, Asher
He exchanges glances with his fellow freshman - the uncertainty
and anxiety over being burdened with the heavy responsibility of representing
the citizens of Israel etched heavily in all of their faces.
passes, and as Ya’acov marches by, Piron can’t resist giving him a slight push
and snickering under his breath. “Rookie.”