Knesset spends NIS 18,000 to hold meetings in Ramat Gan

Hitorerut Jerusalem: Moving meetings goes against Basic Law: The Knesset, underestimates importance of Jerusalem.

June 27, 2013 17:38
1 minute read.
Israeli government at the Knesset, April 22, 2013.

Cabinet sitting down Knesset 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

As MKs continued discussing budget cuts on Thursday, the Knesset spent NIS 18,000 to hold committee meetings in a location more convenient for the lawmakers than Jerusalem, to the dismay of Jerusalemite party Hitorerut.

Three meetings, two of the Knesset Finance Committee and one of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, were held in Kfar Hamaccabia in Ramat Gan Thursday, even though each committee has its own large, air-conditioned room with Wi-Fi in the Knesset.

Renting a hall for each meeting holding 50 people costs NIS 6,000. A Knesset usher must travel to Ramat Gan and the Knesset provides refreshments for the MKs.

MKs on the committees requested that the meetings be held in the Tel Aviv area, rather than in Jerusalem, on Thursdays.

Their reasoning is that no votes are held in the plenum on Thursdays, and the day is often dedicated to party responsibilities.

Several of the MKs on the committees – such as Reuven Rivlin (Likud Beytenu), Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud Beytenu), Erel Margalit (Labor), and Ya’acov Litzman (UTJ) – live in the Jerusalem area.

Jerusalem City Council party Hitorerut sent a letter to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, complaining that the expense is outrageous and insulting to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“Throughout history, Jerusalem was the center of the world and the spiritual and physical center for all nations,” wrote Hitorerut deputy chairman Hanan Rubin. “It is not coincidental that the Knesset is in Jerusalem.”

According to Rubin, moving discussions from the Knesset to other places for reasons of convenience is unacceptable and opposes Basic Law: The Knesset, even if it is for just one day a week.

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