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Suck it up

Knesset speaker bans MKs from snacking in plenum

Levy says while he’d allowed food, drink during long votes, practice will now end; Likud’s Bitan, whose bags of treats escalated to trays of Krembo this week: ‘Candy isn’t food’

  • Likud MK David Bitan with a bag of candy in the Knesset on November 3, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
    Likud MK David Bitan with a bag of candy in the Knesset on November 3, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
  • Defense Minister Benny Gantz eats a lollipop in the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 3, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz eats a lollipop in the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 3, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
  • Joint List MK Ofer Cassif eats a lollipop in the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 3, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
    Joint List MK Ofer Cassif eats a lollipop in the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 3, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
  • Lawmakers eat lollipops in the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 3, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
    Lawmakers eat lollipops in the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 3, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
  • Lawmakers eat lollipops in the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 3, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
    Lawmakers eat lollipops in the Knesset in Jerusalem on November 3, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

After a rash of recent photos showing lawmakers eating and drinking in the plenum, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy on Wednesday issued a directive banning food and beverages from the parliament hall.

“In recent days we have witnessed the troublesome sight of Knesset members regularly bringing food and beverages into the plenary hall,” Levy wrote to lawmakers.

“This is an act that damages the Knesset’s public image” as well as potentially wrecking furniture and equipment in the chamber, Levy said.

“During the votes on the state budget, I allowed food and drink into the Knesset plenum because of the long hours and the need that arose,” he said.

“However, if there are more long nights of voting, food and drink will not be allowed in, as has always been the custom,” Levy said.

In response to the directive, Likud MK David Bitan, known for bringing bags of sweet treats to the Israeli parliament in a habit that this week escalated to trays of the chocolate-coated marshmallow treat Krembo, reportedly quipped in response that “candy is not food.”

Numerous lawmakers, including Defense Minister Benny Gantz, were photographed eating lollipops during last week’s budget debates.

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