MK pitches ‘tent office’ to get close to public

“The concept is to take a tent, which has recently become very symbolic, and turn it into a wandering office,” Abesadze tells the 'Post.'

September 15, 2011 02:59
2 minute read.
MK Nino Abesadze at her tent office

MK Nino Abesadze at her tent office 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

MK Nino Abesadze (Kadima) set up her new parliamentary office this week – in a tent.

“The concept is to take a tent, which has recently become very symbolic, and turn it into a wandering office,” Abesadze told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. “Every day I’ll go from place to place.”

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The Kadima MK first set up her traveling office with a table, chairs, laptop and a sign reading “Parliamentary Bureau,” in the Rose Garden across from the Knesset on Tuesday, and then moved to the Horse Garden in central Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Abesadze plans on pitching her tent in Beersheba on Sunday, and will continue to Tiberias, Yokneam and other towns until the Knesset recess is over, at the end of October. Her location will be announced each day on her Facebook page.

“Every day I will go somewhere else, during hours that are convenient for the public, so I can hear what is really happening. I plan to return to the Knesset with ideas that come from the people,” she added.

Abesadze said that “instead of a Ministerial Committee for Legislation, I want my office to be like a Public Committee for Legislation.” Each MK is allotted NIS 49,000 annually for work expenses, which includes funding for “connecting with the public.” In addition, the MKs are able to spend up to NIS 19,000 each year for a parliamentary bureau outside of the Knesset.

Many MKs have offices around the country, but Abesadze used the office funds for the first time to buy a tent.

“MK Doron Avital (Kadima) and I proposed that the Knesset’s summer recess be canceled this year, but unfortunately, the coalition opposed the idea,” Abesadze said. “In the current situation, the Knesset has no right to have a recess.”

The Kadima MK says that reactions to her initiative have been overwhelmingly positive. “People completely unconnected to politics have said that this is a great idea. Apparently, there really was a need,” she stated.

Abesadze told the Post that she “arrived at the Knesset almost directly from the unemployment office, so I know how people feel.”

According to Abesadze, this summer’s tent protests were the realization of a dream she has had since she made aliya from Georgia 15 years ago.

“I had this fantasy that people would stop buying homes and cars and going on vacation until prices went down,” Abesadze, who spent several nights in the tent city on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard, said. “We shouldn’t be living and working just to pay off a mortgage.”

She called the protests “a baby that was born and grew to be a giant. Now everyone knows that we shouldn’t just serve the state – the state should also serve us.”

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