War, poetry and theology: MKs pass the time with books during long hours of budget votes

How do Knesset members pass the time during budget votes? Apparently, they like to read books.

December 21, 2016 23:56
1 minute read.
Benjamin Netanyahu reading a book during budget votes

Benjamin Netanyahu reading a book during budget votes. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Hours upon hours of pressing “yea” or “nay” buttons are enough to make any MK fall asleep, which is why, when the time comes to vote on the budget, many bring books to the plenum.

While the proliferation of e-readers and tablets has made book-spotting increasingly difficult, The Jerusalem Post was still able scout out some of the titles lawmakers brought with them.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never disappoints in this area, always bringing a history book, usually in English.

This time, it was Nothing Less Than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History by John David Lewis, which looks at six wars from antiquity to World War II in which decisive military victories led to long-term peace.

Several of the MKs turned to Jewish books to pass the time.

Energy, Water and Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz read a book by another Yuval, Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, called In His Image, about what it means for man to have been created in God’s image. The philosophical tome suits Steinitz, a former philosophy professor who wrote a book aimed at proving God’s existence.

MK Yehudah Glick (Likud), who is also a rabbi, read a book by Rabbi Hillel Marzbach about Jewish laws relating to marriage.

Other MKs cut out the middleman and went straight to the source: MK Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) brought Masechet Bava Metzia of the Talmud, and MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) had a Tanach (Bible) and Mishna (oral law) that he always keeps at his spot in the plenum.

Stern also brought Natan Alterman’s classic book of poetry, The Silver Platter, to pass the time.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, already fluent in Hebrew, Arabic and English, studied Spanish on his iPad.

Most of the MKs, however, turned to less intellectual pursuits and were engrossed in their cellphones.

MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) was spotted playing Candy Crush on his tablet.

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