MKs face criticism for not following the same COVID rules they voted for

Knesset staff members have expressed outrage that MKs will not be obligated by the green pass that is required for non-MKs in the building, as well as for teachers and other state employees.

Another long night in the Knesset this week. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Another long night in the Knesset this week.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Knesset members faced criticism on Saturday night for voting to limit workplaces with coronavirus regulations but not applying the rules to themselves.

Channel 12 reported that Knesset staff members have expressed outrage that MKs will not be obligated by the Green Pass that is required for non-MKs in the building, as well as for teachers and other state employees.

MKs have immunity, so they cannot be asked if they have been vaccinated. But they can be asked to undergo regular COVID-19 PCR or antigen tests.

Knesset House Committee chairman Nir Orbach (Yamina) urged Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) and director-general Gil Segal to find a way to resolve the dispute.

“There is no reason why we should not have to present documentation proving we were vaccinated or tested,” Orbach said.

Knesset Health Committee chairwoman Idit Silman (Yamina) said the fact that MKs have immunity from prosecution did not give them immunity from COVID-19. She said MKs should set a personal example for the good of their health and that of other workers at the Knesset.

Strategic Planning Minister Eli Avidar (Yisrael Beytenu), who vocally resisted getting vaccinated for months, said MKs had confided in him that they had quietly made the same decision.

PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett entering Knesset meeting, August 2, 2021 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett entering Knesset meeting, August 2, 2021 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

At least 21 current MKs and ministers have endured COVID-19, with MKs Gilad Kariv (Labor) and Ofer Cassif (Joint List) the latest to get very sick from the virus. Likud MK David Bitan was intubated for weeks and nearly died.

MK Ya’acov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) obtained the virus when he was health minister. Gila Gamliel (Likud) infamously contracted the virus after violating regulations by going to a synagogue on Yom Kippur last year.

MKs Ayman Odeh (Joint List), Matan Kahana (Yamina), Sami Abou Shehadeh (Joint List), Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism), Yakov Asher (United Torah Judaism), Yoav Ben-Tzur (Shas), Moshe Abutbul (Shas), Yinon Azoulay (Shas), Itamar Ben-Gvir (Religious Zionist Party), Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionist Party), Vladimir Beliak (Yesh Atid), Inbar Bezek (Yesh Atid), Ofir Akunis (Likud) and Blue and White ministers Pnina Tamano-Shata and Orit Farkash-Hacohen have also suffered from COVID-19 as well as Yisrael Beytenu’s Hamed Amer.

The Likud accused Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of a “massive blunder” that led to the deaths since the current government was formed in June.