Rivlin unveils new wing of Knesset

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon may be ready to sit out and weather the political storm brewing in the Knesset, but many MKs are not - at least not in their present offices. On Sunday, Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin unveiled the first wing of what will ultimately be the new Knesset building. By November, 44 MKs are expected to move from their temporary caravans to the state-of-the-art facilities. The new wing boasts smart-card technology, digitalized cards that allow a person to enter and exit rooms and access their computers. The phone system will use voice-over IP technology, which links the phone to the user's computer to allow easy phone-book access and dialing. "Can you believe this new building?" asked Rivlin. "These are offices befitting Knesset members." The new wing, which has marble hallways and roomy offices, took just over four years to build. The entire building is scheduled to be completed by 2009. Each office includes a separate room for the MK's assistants and a bathroom with shower. The most popular feature reportedly is the new gym, which is nearly double the size of the current one and features spacious locker rooms.