The accidental MK

Following Avraham Ravitz's death, Yehoshua Pollack has joined the Knesset for a brief period.

yehoshua pollack 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
yehoshua pollack 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Former deputy mayor Yehoshua Pollack could not imagine that one of his dreams would come true under such terrible circumstances. Pollack, who took a gamble on his position on the city council for the possibility of replacing MK Meir Porush in the Knesset if he won the mayoral elections, was left without a seat on the council. After a short time, he adjusted to the new situation and focused on his old-new job: treasurer of the Betar Illit Municipality. And now, with United Torah Judaism MK Avraham Ravitz's death this week, Pollack has been called on emergency duty and is replacing the deceased as Knesset member for the 16 days until the national elections and as long as it takes to swear in a new government. According to the law, the Knesset cannot remain for more than one day without the full number of its elected representatives - 120. Upon the death of an MK (or departure for any other reason), the subsequent member on the list is requested to step forward and represent his party. On the UTJ list of this Knesset, Pollack is No. 8 and thus will replace Ravitz until the next Knesset is elected on February 10. "The problem is that in the UTJ for the next Knesset, Pollack is way back, in the 11th slot - there's no chance he will remain a Knesset member after the elections," says his former assistant on the municipal Planning and Construction Committee, Yanki Pashkus. "It's a terrible situation. I don't even want to talk about it," admitted Pollack upon his return from Ravitz's funeral. According to the spokesman of the Knesset, Giora Fordis, Pollack will receive an MK's salary for the period of January 26 to February 24 - the date the newly elected Knesset will be installed. Knesset members do not receive free health insurance anymore, but Pollack "has the right during this period to use public transportation free of charge," Fordis points out. As for Pollack's pension rights, these are included in his job at the Betar Illit municipality. Although Pollack might still reap some benefits from his short stint in the Israeli parliament, it won't change much about his current rather difficult situation. After losing the battle during the mayoral elections - some say because of his provocative remarks and attitude before the mayoral campaign - it was clear that Porush would be the one to retain his position at the top of the haredi list to the Knesset, while Pollack would more or less politely be sent to earn his living elsewhere - Betar Illit, for example, with a much less dazzling status and salary (though much better, at least for the moment, than his former Shas colleagues, who became simple members of the city council, without salaries or a particularly stellar status). "I do feel some nostalgia for the municipality," says Pollack, "but I feel that I am not the only one who misses me there."