The Knesset Ethics Committee on Sunday docked former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman four days’ pay for missing too many Knesset sessions for the second time in a year.
The committee decided to penalize the Yisrael Beytenu party leader for missing 22 meetings during the 2012 summer session — four more than permitted by law. Though Likud minister Yisrael Katz and MK Hana Sweid also received warnings from the committee for their absences, it singled out the embattled former foreign minister for especial censure because it wasn’t the first time this year that his absences drew monetary penalties.
An investigation by the Ethics Committee in June found that the Yisrael Beytenu chairman was absent from 38 meetings during last year’s winter session, 18 more than the 20 permitted absences for that session. Liberman cited his duties as foreign minister as the reason for his absences, but records show that only 16 of the missed Knesset meetings were due to official trips.
The committee did not find his supplementary duties a “reasonable justification” for missing 38 workdays, but it only fined him four days’ pay because of his role as foreign minister.
Liberman on Sunday reiterated the same defense to the Ethics Committee, arguing his absences were a result of official visits abroad.
Gabe Fisher contributed to this report.