The Knesset 390 (R).
(photo credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters)
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin is limiting lobbyists’ activities further than
previously intended, he announced on Thursday.
Employees of Gilad
Lobbying may no longer have permanent entry passes to the Knesset, and Rivlin
plans to examine whether their lobbyist licenses can be rescinded.
move comes following a report broadcast by Channel 2 investigative program Uvda
Tuesday night, which used hidden cameras to expose Gilad lobbyists bragging
about manipulating MKs and the Knesset Center for Research and Information in
order to increase their clients’ revenues. The MKs interviewed by Uvda denied
being influenced by lobbyists.
Although lobbyists’ attempts to convince
MKs to vote a certain way or propose bills that help their clients have been
reported many times, their manipulation of the Center for Research and
Information is less known. According to the lobbyists filmed by Uvda, Gilad
lobbyists encourage MKs to request a report from the Center for Research and
Information. They then give slanted information to junior researchers, while
claiming to be saving them time and effort.
Rivlin instructed Knesset
guards to prevent all lobbyists from entering his office, MKs’ offices, the MKs’
cafeteria, the entrance to the plenum, Knesset legal offices, the Center for
Research and Information, as well as the Knesset director-general and secretary’s
Lobbyists will only be permitted to enter any area of the
Knesset other than committee rooms if they are personally invited by an MK or
the manager of the office in question.
In addition, Knesset employees may
not meet with lobbyists without permission from a senior
Following such a meeting, the worker must give the manager a
written summary of what was discussed, as well as any written information given
to him or her by the lobbyist.
“This is not just speculation or gossip –
this is reality, and it must be taken care of,” Rivlin stated. “We must take
drastic measures to ensure that the Knesset is not stomped on by lobbying
The Knesset Speaker called lobbyists a “stumbling block” that
must be “emptied of content,” and an existential threat to the
Last week, Rivlin announced that he planned to limit
lobbyists by amending the Knesset’s ethical code. The changes include forbidding
MKs’ assistants from serving as lobbyists, prohibiting all gifts from lobbyists,
and requiring MKs to report any written information they receive from
The Knesset speaker said on Thursday that he will work to get
the approval of all faction heads to finalize the changes to the ethical code as
soon as possible.
Parliamentarians will be individually responsible if
the rules are broken.
“Public servants can no longer say their hands are
clean and that they are not at fault,” Rivlin explained.
In the past six
years, the amount of lobbyists increased by 400 percent, from 50 to 210, the
Knesset spokesman’s office reported.