Just a few days ago, we reported on the mischievous behavior of some Knesset members, spraying air freshener around the chamber while claiming that former Labor Chairman Ehud Barak’s creation of a new party “stinks.” And they aren’t the only lawmakers whose conduct has been raising eyebrows. Back in October Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon decided that he needs to start running manners courses for lawmakers to avoid blundering behavior abroad. Now, as Ayalon’s carrot method for improving standards gets off the ground, the Knesset’s Ethics Committee is going for more of a stick approach.
It plans to institute a fine for lawmakers who curse or speak rudely to a colleague in the plenum – a month’s salary, which comes out at almost $10,000. It still requires final approval by the committee, and one wonders if it will pass – after all, forcing lawmakers to think before they open their mouths would seem to spell the end of a longstanding element of the Knesset’s culture.