Reporter's Notebook: Vacation is all they ever wanted

Despite an emergency meeting, MKs are in the summer-recess spirit, clearly wanting to start their vacation.

August 17, 2011 04:02
3 minute read.
Knesset vote [file]

Knesset vote 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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Despite requests from Interior Minister Eli Yishai and various Kadima MKs to postpone the summer recess, the Knesset was not in session for nearly two weeks, and many MKs were clearly in the vacation spirit on Tuesday.

The plenum has been undergoing renovations, and an emergency meeting in response to ongoing nationwide protests began somewhat chaotically, as MKs searched for their seats in a smaller auditorium.

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Some MKs complained about the arrangements, with MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) complaining that, although the National Union is in the opposition, they sat in front of his party.

Other MKs ignored their assigned seats entirely, with MK Daniel Ben-Simon (Labor) joining his former colleagues in the media for a quick chat.

The press benefited from the new arrangement, sitting in the back of the auditorium, instead of on a balcony in the plenum, high above the MKs. As politicians passed on their way in and out of the meeting, they made comments and cracked jokes.

At one point, MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) sat in the back of the room near reporters, and began to yell out comments, interrupting another MK’s speech. Rivlin, looking like a teacher scolding a petulant student, told the Kadima MK to either go to his seat or keep quiet.

The MKs seemed generally amused by the smaller quarters, with MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) getting up at one point to take pictures of the auditorium with his iPad. This, in turn, led to a stampede of photographers, attempting to snap a photo of his antics.

“I thought we moved here to identify with protesters – they’re in tents, and this is our version of a tent,” MK Israel Eichler (UTJ) said of the temporary move.

While it is not uncommon for male MKs to wear jeans to work, it is definitely a rarity among the females. Yet Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) blasted the coalition from the auditorium’s stage in a pair of stylish dark-blue skinny jeans, making a fashion statement that said: “Yes, I’m at work, but I’m ready for the recess.”

Of course, the majority of MKs – especially those in the coalition – were not around at all on Tuesday, a fact that Kadima made sure to point out.

After Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin adjourned the meeting, it was clear that MKs wanted to start their vacation. Although Kadima called for yet another emergency session, many of the party’s members flew the coop immediately after Tuesday’s discussion ended.

MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) stuck around, treating his two young daughters to lunch in the Knesset’s meat cafeteria.

Unable to convince his six year old to finish her chicken, he told the two tow-headed girls: “Go run around in the lobby while I talk to this reporter.”

They preferred to try to climb into his lap and listen.

Finally, Likud spokeswoman Noga Rappaport sent a text message to the press.

It began: “[Opposition leader Tzipi] Livni is panicking because Kadima’s poll numbers are dropping.”

After 35 words slamming Kadima, Rappaport closed the quotation and wrote a personal message to reporters: “Start your recess already!” – ending the SMS with a winking emoticon.

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