Green Knesset advances as MKs replace paper with iPads

It is estimated move will save the Knesset from printing about 40,000-50,000 pages annually.

Apple's flagship store (photo credit: REUTERS)
Apple's flagship store
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In an effort to continue curbing paper use in the Knesset, Internal Affairs and Environment Committee members replaced hard-copy documents with new iPads on Wednesday morning.
As the Knesset members collected their tablet computers, the committee officially celebrated its status as a “green committee.”
The Internal Affairs and Environment Committee’s transition to iPads is part of the larger Green Knesset Project, launched by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and director-general Ronen Plott in January. Aiming to transform the legislature into running on energy-saving principles, the program’s most prominent project involves the installation of a 3,600 sq.m. solar rooftop.
In addition to the solar panel installations, the program includes an overhaul of the water, air conditioning, and lighting systems. Two electric vehicle charging spots have been installed in the Knesset parking lot, and plastic water bottles have been eliminated from committee meetings.
Six months ago, Knesset Secretary Yardena Miller-Horovitz asked MKs to send the secretariat queries and accompanying material by e-mail rather than in hard copies, said Dr. Samuel Chayen, sustainability coordinator for the Green Knesset Project.
The secretariat has also begun sending committees and MKs decision reports via e-mail, and prints preliminary bills only upon specific request.
It is estimated that these efforts will save the Knesset from printing some 40,000- 50,000 pages annually, Chayen added.
As the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee became a green committee on Wednesday, it joined the ranks of the Economic Affairs Committee – which launched a pilot program in May to send members copies of legislation via electronic means only.
During the past six months, the Economic Affairs Committee has already been able to save printing some 15,000 pages as well as a lot of money, according to Chayen. The Internal Affairs and Environment Committee expects to see a similar or possibly even higher reduction, he explained.
“Man must be humble and preserve the environment that preserves him,” said committee chairwoman MK Miri Regev (Likud), referring to a passage of the Midrash.
Plott credited the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee for “leading the progress in the Green Knesset” project. Also in attendance at the morning’s ceremony were MKs David Azoulay (Shas), Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism), and Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid) – all of whom welcomed the committee’s transition to tablets.
Tomer Rosner, the legal adviser for the committee, stressed that the uploading of legal files onto iPads is more than just a “green revolution.”
“This is not just a green revolution but an accessibility revolution, enabling accessibility of materials to disabled individuals, because they have programs for the hearing and visually impaired,” Rosner added.
Only a third of medical personnel have had flu shots • By JUDY SIEGEL Even though the Israel Medical Association has opposed the use of special tags to show which doctors and nurses have been immunized this season against the flu, between 28 percent and 36% of medical staffers in the general, geriatric, and psychiatric hospitals went for their protective shot by November 1. The Health Ministry reports that 33% to 37% of physicians consented when asked to get vaccinated, but just 23% to 33% of the nurses did the same -- even though they are in close contact with patients.
Flu shots – recommended to everyone in the country over six months old – are considered very important in medical institutions, because doctors and nurses can infect patients, and patients can infect medical staffers. Sick personnel have to miss work, resulting in even more shorthanded staffs. When patients are infected by medical personnel, potentially deadly nosocomial infections that are caused only in hospitals may occur.
The IMA had said it encourages its members to get flu shots, but said it is “wrong” and “violates freedom” for those who were vaccinated to show it by wearing tags and setting apart those who were not.
Only two of the four public health funds – Clalit Health Services and Maccabi Health Services – reported to the ministry on their staffs’ vaccination rates. At Clalit, the largest, 42% got their shots, including 55% of the nurses and 49% of the doctors. At Maccabi, the second largest, just 38% of the nurses and 16% of the doctors did so.
In the general population, 1.49 million Israelis of all ages – or 18.2% of the population – have been vaccinated at their health fund clinics. The pace is faster than last year, as during the comparable period in 2013 just 13% got the shot. The rate of vaccination in the elderly population, many of whom have weak immune systems and chronic diseases – has risen to 59%, which is considerably higher than last year.
Every year, but especially during the colder months, some 1,500 to 2,000 Israelis die of complications of the flu. This year’s flu is expected to be more dangerous, because it has shown to cause more cases and more serious ones in Australia, which has passed its winter and is now in the spring.
SHAS MK David Azoulay tries out his new tablet computer at yesterday’s meeting of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee. (Knesset)