Inspired by US Congress, MK asks to clap in Knesset

Ayoub Kara says allowing applause in the plenum would add color to the Knesset's "grey" atmosphere, bring respect to visiting leaders.

Netanyahu addresses Congress 311 (photo credit: Avi Ohayun/GPO)
Netanyahu addresses Congress 311
(photo credit: Avi Ohayun/GPO)
Much has been made of the dozens of standing ovations Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received during his speech to the US Congress last week. Netanyahu himself admitted that he would not get such a warm reception in the Knesset. Now, MK Ayoub Kara (Likud) has set out to change that.
In a letter penned to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Sunday, Kara requested that the plenum rules be changed to allow clapping after MKs speak.
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“Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the American Congress – and the respect he received when he brought honor to the Knesset and the entire State of Israel – raises questions as to why the accepted procedures of the American House of Representatives are not customary in the Knesset,” Kara, the deputy minister for Development of the Negev and the Galilee, wrote.
The Likud MK added that the applause and standing ovations “reflect the respect and appreciation that the prime minister and Israel receive in America,” and that leaders visiting Israel should be shown the same admiration.
“I ask that the Knesset regulations be changed so that it will be possible to rise and clap for leaders that deserve it,” he wrote.
“This is an important public matter. The applause that the prime minister received [in the US Congress] brought a lot of respect to Israel,” Kara told The Jerusalem Post.
“Israel should imitate the good things about the US, not just the bad,” he added. “We should also be able to receive important guests with respect.”
Kara said that one of the reasons for advocating applause is that he’d like the Knesset to be less bland.
“Our parliament is a bit gray,” he explained. “Maybe this will make it more colorful, and give the Knesset an atmosphere that matches its status.”
During his speech to Congress, Netanyahu pointed out that the Knesset is not an easy crowd to please.
“You think you guys are tough on one another in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset. Be my guest,” the prime minister said, citing the “rambunctious parliamentary debates” in Jerusalem.
However, when asked whether allowing legislators to applaud would only add to the Knesset’s unruly atmosphere, Kara answered in the negative.
“There are hundreds of members of Congress, and they manage to conduct themselves respectfully, and represent the values of the House,” Kara said.
“Why should it be a problem in the Knesset?”