The day felines and reality TV stars took over the Knesset

Reporter's Notebook: When no controversial bills are brought to vote, frivolous issues, like a cat sneaking into the plenum, get the attention.

By
November 10, 2011 06:07
2 minute read.
Cat

Cat 311. (photo credit: Tallulah Floyd)

 
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Wednesday was a day when cats and reality TV stars nabbed bigger headlines than politicians in the Knesset.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin’s decision at the beginning of this week that the agenda would be set by consensus during the Muslim and Druse holiday of Id al-Adha guaranteed that no controversial or particularly interesting bills would be put to a vote.

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Plus, with memorial ceremonies for prime minister Yitzhak Rabin taking place throughout the day, committee meetings were especially muted.

Whines could be heard from the journalists’ wing that there just wasn’t anything interesting to write, until a surprise visitor showed up.

An unauthorized infiltrator snuck onto the plenum floor on Wednesday afternoon, but it wasn’t a criminal, or even a sneaky reporter – it was a cat.

As MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) gave a speech about “the demand to directly employ contract workers,” the cat strolled in, and Hasson joked: “Maybe the cat is one of the contract workers.”

Deputy Knesset Speaker Orly Levy- Abecassis (Israel Beiteinu), who was presiding over the plenum meeting, said that she has 10 kittens at home, and wouldn’t mind adopting another.

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Hasson responded that perhaps the cat should stay in the Knesset, to prevent a mouse problem.

Soon after, Knesset workers escorted the unexpected guest out of the plenum.

Kadima spokesman Shmulik Dahan and Arik Ben-Shimon, spokesman for MK Uri Ariel (National Union), sent text messages to reporters: “A cat was just spotted in the plenum!” “I’d rather have a cat in the plenum than in the cafeteria,” Ariel, who saw the incident, joked. After all, two months ago, a dead cat was found in a pot in the Knesset cafeteria.

A cat sneaking into the plenum was one of those times when reality was more amusing than anything anyone could make up – although Sarit Gomez, the new spokeswoman for MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud), knows a bit about that.

Gomez, who officially replaced former spokeswoman Livnat Nizri on Wednesday, has been the subject of a lot of whispers in the Knesset corridors, because of her past as a reality TV star.

The new spokeswoman participated Channel 2’s popular program Three, which documented the lives of three single women looking for love.

Gomez, a lawyer, was married to Daniel, a pilot who was killed in the Second Lebanon War, and has a four-year-old son, Avia.

In interviews with other newspapers, Shama, who is chairman of the Knesset Economics Committee, said the fact that Gomez is an IDF widow contributed to his choice. Shama also explained that the media buzz surrounding Gomez’s new job “proves that she’ll be good at getting me into the press.”

In case anyone is wondering why The Jerusalem Post didn’t previously report that a reality TV star was coming to work in the legislature, it’s because it seemed a bit too gossipy for this reporter.

Then again, Wednesday was a particularly dull day in the Knesset.

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