The Speaker of the Knesset, MK Yuli-Yoel Edelstein (Likud Yisrael Beitenu) sent a pointed letter to all the MKs: “Lately I have received many complaints about the conduct of several MKs. The complaints are from citizens and from visitors to the Knesset about the MKs conduct in the Knesset plenum. Among other things mentioned, there have been complaints about MKs eating and drinking in the plenum, taking pictures and using cellular devices, and using speeches solely to express their own opinions. A number of complaints addressed a completely non-parliamentary statement by a new MK on the Knesset stage. The statement used disrespectful language, which degraded both the Knesset and the MK who spoke those words.”

Edelstein added that, “Ever since the first plenum meeting, I have heard many MKs refer to their fellow MKs as ‘Mister’ or by using their first names. This is against the Knesset’s accepted rules of conduct. I have checked out all of these complaints personally, and have sadly discovered that they are correct.”

As a result, Edelstein stressed that “Since my first day in this post I said I will have zero tolerance for disrespect and contempt of the Knesset. Fortunately, we are not in such a situation but I worry about the day when we might get there, G-d forbid.”

“We are only a few days away from the budget talks, which will be long, tiring and heated. It is specifically in these days when we will be under the inspection of the voting public who looks to us to set an example. We must all act with restraint, tolerance, respect and manners toward each other and towards the Knesset. The Knesset serves as our common home and the foundational institution of Israeli democracy.”

“As MKs, we must see the image of the Knesset before us at all times. If the public loses trust in its leaders and in its political system there will be danger to all of us. If we do not protect the dignity of the Knesset – there will be no one who can do it for us. The 19th Knesset has a record number of new MKs; it is fresher and different than any previous Knesset. As Speaker of the Knesset I see this Knesset as a vehicle for change – change for the image of the Israeli legislature. I see this as the highest priority for all of us.”