Photo Credit: Noam Chen / Ministry of Tourism
The Knesset

The Knesset Plenum gave its final approval Tuesday evening to a bill sponsored by the House Committee which requires lobbyists to register for each Knesset committee whose meetings they attend, and enter their personal information and the entity they represent.

The amendment to the law regarding lobbyists would forbid them from having an MK commit to voting a certain way. In addition, a former MK would not be able to work as a lobbyist in the year after ending their term in the Knesset. And Knesset employees and parliamentary advisors would be able to work as lobbyists only after a six-month cooling-off period. The bill also bars lobbyists from using the services of the Knesset Research and Information Center.

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The legislation also broadens the authority of the committee headed by the Knesset speaker to levy sanctions on lobbyists.

Ten MKs supported the bill in its third and final reading, and none opposed.

House Committee Chairman MK David Bitan said “when lobbyists will approach an MK, Knesset employee or parliamentary advisor, they will be obligated to disclose who they represent, so that their interests are clear. Many parliamentary aides become lobbyists, so we thought that a cooling-off period would be appropriate in such cases.”

This bill received the support of left-wing legislators because it reduces, in theory, the ability of wealthy individuals and corporations to influence legislation. But the same left-wing MKs are expected to vehemently oppose the next legislation coming down the pike, regarding the requirement of transparency from NGOs that receive their funding from foreign governments and organizations — even though the argument for the latter bill is udentical to the former’s. Both laws represents an attempt to level the playing field by identifying the players.

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