In 1957 the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, breaking the hearts of the people of Brooklyn. Amost half a century later the Knesset moved to Los Angeles, and no one shed a tear.
Six MKs, six ministers, and the prime minister are all in Los Angeles this week attending the 75th annual United Jewish Communities (UJC) General Assembly. While the meeting was expected to broach such important topics as the recent war in Lebanon and threat of a nuclear Iran, many were left wondering why such a substantial portion of the government relocated in the middle of its winter session.
"They dismiss an IDF division commander, change the system of government, Beit Hanun is burning, and the government runs off to Los Angeles. What exactly do they intend on doing there?" said MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz).
The month of November should have been busy for the Knesset, especially considering the prime minister's stipulation that his government would be the first in three years to pass a budget before December 31. But with Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson and two members of the Knesset Finance committee among the attendees of the General Assembly, little work was slated to happen on the 2007 budget.
Other ministers attending the General Assembly include Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, Education Minister Yuli Tamir, Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog, and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai. The Likud representatives were Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, Gidon Sa'ar and Gilad Erdan. MK Nadia Hilu (Labor), MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima), and MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz) are also in Los Angeles. All were expected to return by the weekend.
While many of the MKs left behind blasted their colleagues for wasting state funds on an unnecessary trip, others questioned the qualifications for the guest list.
"Everyone seems to want me to speak to groups that come to Israel from abroad, but when it comes to inviting me to Los Angeles, I didn't get a single invitation," said MK Colette Avital (Labor) I am the head of the Knesset's Israel Diaspora forum for the Jewish people I am the only one who understands this issue. Next time they should ask Gidon Saar to talk to them."
Although Monday is normally the busiest day in the Knesset - it is the only day in which no-confidence motions can be filed and the day in which most factions meet - this week only 43 MKs attended the plenum session.
"I think that everyone should take the day off tomorrow," joked Labor whip Yoram Marciano, normally responsible for rallying his party's MKs for the plenum sessions. "It's not like there is work to do around here from the looks of it."
Knesset attendance is expected to reach such a low, that one MK is even putting off his resignation. Natan Sharansky (Likud), who was supposed to resign on Wednesday announced that he would delay his exit from political life by one week, in order to hold a special session with Netanyahu present.