Israel’s southern residents, who have continually argued that the Israeli government has forsaken them, were slighted again Wednesday when only one of 13 MKs who were scheduled to visit schools and the widow of a civilian killed in southern Israel showed up.
According to Channel 2, the members of the Knesset’s Education Committee were set to meet with students in the Eshkol region, and wrap up the tour with a visit with Nava Etzion in Kibbutz Nirim. Her husband, Ze’ev Etzion, was killed by mortar fire shortly before the ceasefire went into effect on August 26.
However, 11 members failed to appear for the tour altogether, MK Shimon Ohayon cut it short, and MK Amram Mitzna (Hatnua party) was the sole representative to show up for the whole thing.
The various Knesset members presented various reasons for their absence, ranging from scheduling conflicts to family obligations to travel abroad. Ohayon (Yisrael Beytenu party) told Channel 2 he had attended part of the tour, but was forced to leave early to catch a flight to join a different Knesset delegation. MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash party) said he had family commitments, and MK Ruth Calderon (Yesh Atid party) cited personal reasons. Likud party MK Moshe Feiglin said he was out of the country, and Gila Gamliel, also of Likud, stayed in Jerusalem to attend a Knesset session on tax cuts.
The other no-show Knesset members were: Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home party), Ya’akov Asher (United Torah Judaism party), Hilik Bar (Labor Party), Ronen Hoffman (Yesh Atid), Meshulam Nahari (Shas party), Masud Ghnaim (United Arab list), and Issawi Freij (Meretz party).
Some of the southern residents responded angrily to what they took to be a snub.
“It shows just how quickly they have forgotten about us,” Lilach, a resident of Kibbutz Be’eri, told the Walla news website. “It seems to them that we’ve moved on, but we’re still deep in crisis.”
Mitzna said he was aware that most of the committee would not be able to make the tour, due to scheduling conflicts and the short notice, but said that nonetheless he was there to represent the committee.
“I was impressed by the quick return to the school routine, and of course by the students themselves who are not dwelling on or talking about the past, but rather are interested in the future and the results of the ceasefire,” Mitzna said of his school visits.