Lipman sets open-door policy as ‘Knesset congressman'

US-born Yesh Atid MK creates American-style constituent meetings with citizens.

February 11, 2013 02:36
1 minute read.
YESH ATID MK Dov Lipman in his new office.

Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Dov Lipman)


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MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) can check one campaign promise off of his list on Sunday, after announcing weekly open office hours modeled after US congressmen’s constituent meetings.

While the Knesset tends to be empty on Sundays, because plenum meetings are held Monday through Wednesday, Lipman plans to be in his office for at least two hours every Sunday morning.

The Yesh Atid lawmaker will hold brief meetings with citizens who make an appointment in advance to discuss issues with him.

Lipman hopes to accommodate as many people as possible during the hours available in his Knesset schedule, which will become busier after committees are formed.

Throughout the election campaign, Lipman, who is the first American-born MK in almost 30 years, told potential English-speaking voters that he would be their “congressman,” with the same level of transparency and access as elected officials in the US.

“I truly wish I had an Englishspeaking MK to turn to for assistance in quite a few issues following my family’s aliya eight-and-a-half years ago,” Lipman, who hails from Maryland, said. “I’m happy that I’m now in a position to help others.”

As for those who don’t speak English, Lipman is brushing up on his Hebrew.

Every MK is allotted a budget to learn another language. While most use it to improve their English – with some like MK Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) asking Lipman if he can practice his English on him – Lipman will hire a Hebrew tutor.

Lipman recounted a meeting last week with representatives of the Jewish Federations of North America in the Knesset, which he initiated to strengthen ties between Jewish communities in the world and Israel.

“I thought it would be in English, but the [representatives] were all Israelis, so my first major meeting was in Hebrew,” he explained, adding that he has a good grasp of the language, but is not as eloquent as he is in English.

The Yesh Atid MK has also given speeches and televised interviews in Hebrew, but hopes to bring it up to par with his English.

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