(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov (Israel Beiteinu), Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon (Israel Beiteinu), MK Eli Aflalo (Kadima) and MK Muhammad Barakei (Hadash) have been absent from more Knesset meetings than any other lawmakers, the Knesset Ethics Committee said this week.
The four MKs exceeded the permissible amount of absences during the Knesset’s winter session, but were not punished by the committee, because it was the first such violation for each.
Meseznikov missed 37 meetings, one more than permitted for a minister, which he told the committee was due to work-related trips abroad, as well as medical reasons.
All of Ayalon’s 32 absences, three more than the maximum allowed for a deputy minister, were due to trips abroad.
Aflalo and Barakei missed three more meetings than is permissible,
reaching a total of 27 absences each. Aflalo said he was absent for
medical reasons and in order to attend a family event in Afula. Barakei
missed three extra meetings in order to go to Land Day demonstrations,
celebrate the Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha, and attend a funeral.
“Political and public activity in Israel and abroad, including traveling
to represent the state or the Knesset are not justified reasons for
[excessive] absences,” the Ethics Committee decision read.
The committee also said that MKs and ministers should be aware of the
attendance requirements, and chided them for not scheduling their trips
and events accordingly.
“Members of Knesset do not have sick days or vacation days like regular
workers, which is why they are allowed a certain amount of absences by
law,” the committee explained.