(photo credit: Channel 10)
Not content to shed just their own kilograms, contestants on a popular TV show aimed at weight loss descended on the Knesset Monday to convince hefty MKs to shed a few of their own.
Armed with a full TV crew and armloads of stickers, the contestants of Laredet B'Gadol (Downsizing) said that they had come to the Knesset because they were concerned about the health of overweight MKs.
"They don't seem to care about their weight at all. Their weight has become a national joke," said a spokesman for the group.
Based on the popular American show on NBC, The Biggest Loser, the show pits contestants against each other to see who can lose the most weight. A spokesman for the group said that they had been invited to the Knesset by Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri.
While the minister met with the group briefly, they were mostly left to fend for themselves, and quickly found that none of the MKs was interested in speaking with them.
After failing to meet with Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, the group attempted to enter the MKs' dining room but were turned away by guards, said the group's spokesman. As they sat in the employee cafeteria sipping their Diet Coke and picking the skin and fat off their chicken breasts, the group's contestants said they were disappointed.
"It's a big deal, obesity is a big deal, and nobody takes it seriously," said the show's spokesman. "The food here is very fattening and there are serious health issues among the MKs that are not addressed."
Although the Knesset cafeterias recently hired new chefs in light of criticism over the food, little has been done to make the dishes healthier, admitted one cafeteria worker.
Although the kitchen staff experimented with healthy options including steamed vegetables, a salad bar and tofu dishes, none of those experiments lasted more than a week due to "widespread disinterest."
Some MKs have taken to ordering special meals from the Knesset, including platters of fresh fruit and cut-up vegetables. Those dishes, however, are mostly reserved for high-ranking MKs or officials in the Knesset Speaker's Office and cannot be ordered by most Knesset employees.