Knesset starts summer vacation despite coronavirus

MK Roll: Wrong to shut down during corona

Knesset meeting to pass bills to create coalition government on May 6, 2020 (photo credit: ADINA WALLMAN)
Knesset meeting to pass bills to create coalition government on May 6, 2020
(photo credit: ADINA WALLMAN)
The Knesset began a 10-day recess on Thursday, even though it barely convened for more than a year over the course of three elections.
Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin ordered a shutdown of the entire building, which is necessary for its electric and air-conditioning systems.
The shutdown of the building usually takes place in August when the Knesset is in recess. The MKs voted to cancel their annual summer recess because they had not convened enough over the past 20 months and because they needed time to legislate passage of the state budget.
The deadline to pass the state budget was extended on Monday by 120 days. Levin and his deputies will consider initiating a recess during the High Holy Days, which begin with Rosh Hashanah on September 18.
A vote on funding for the school year in the Knesset plenum was postponed Wednesday night because not enough MKs were present. Even though the opposition supported the allocations, the required minimum of 61 MKs to vote for the funding were not in the building.
As a result, the key legislation to fund the start of the school year next Tuesday had to be postponed 12 days because of the shutdown.
The NIS 1.75 billion that was due to be allocated included new funding for 6,000 teaching assistants, preparing new buildings and classrooms and for purchasing cleaning supplies.
The shutdown will enable MKs who are in isolation due to contact with someone who contracted COVID-19 to complete their quarantine before the next votes in the plenum.
Integration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata (Blue and White) tested positive for COVID-19, as did Deputy Public Security Minister Gadi Yevarkan (Likud), who contracted the virus from her.
Ministers Avi Nissenkorn (Blue and White), Asaf Zamir (Blue and White) and Yuval Steinitz (Likud) and MKs Ayelet Shaked (Yamina), David Bitan (Likud) and Tehila Friedman (Blue and White) are quarantined due to contact with Tamano-Shata.
Joint List MK Waleed Taha is quarantined due to contact with someone else who tested positive for COVID-19.
Yesh Atid MK Idan Roll wrote to Levin in May, urging him to cancel all recesses or minimize them as much as possible due to the coronavirus. He complained that this is not the time for the Knesset to shut down.
“In this period, it is important that the Knesset work with full force to oversee the government’s decisions and help our citizens,” Roll said. “Unfortunately, since I sent the letter, the situation in Israel got worse. We are suffering from a second wave, a budget has not been passed, and the important health basket has not been approved.”•