MK Boaz Toporovsky ( Yesh Atid) caused a stir both online and offline after he posted what some have called an intimate and suggestive picture of himself sleeping shirtless in his office at the end of long plenum session.
The incident joins a long line of "unparliamentary" activities and has irked Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein who called on MKs to protect the Knesset's honor.
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Along with other Yesh Atid party members, Toporovsky was facing off haredi MKs in a long and grueling debate over an attempt to secure a place for women on the rabbinate committee charged with electing the judges for rabbinical courts.
The haredi MKs attempted to filibuster the proposed legislation, pushing the debate into the early morning hours.
Before 5 am Tuesday morning, some 45 minutes after the coalition members succeeded in passing the proposed bill 33-12, the young MK snapped the controversial picture. In it, he can be seen lying on what appears to be the couch in his office, giving the camera a "flirtatious" stare and using his shirt as a blanket.
"4:51 am, going to sleep in my office in the Knesset," he wrote alongside the picture. "This is the first time I am sleeping in my office; luckily there is a shower in the office."
Within a number of hours the picture had gone viral, inspiring a slew of internet memes poking fun at Toporovsky, the picture, and specifically his stare.
"I don’t always take semi-nude pictures of myself while I'm in the Knesset" one of the memes read, "but when I do, I make sure my eyes are deep and dreamy."
But the online community was not the only one to take notice.
A number of MKs lodged complaints about the photo, which joined a string of misconduct complains by older MKs against the new, younger generation of legislators.
The complaints range from an inappropriate comment made from the Knesset podium – in which a young MK claimed they "were working their ass off" – and another incident in which an MK was caught snacking during a plenum session. However, Toporovsky seemed to have stuck a nerve.
A majority of the formal complaints focused on what one detractor called the "sensuality" of the photo, which they claimed was more befitting of "a seduction scene than a Knesset member."
The complaints prompted Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to send out a memo to all MKs reminding them to respect the Israeli house of representatives.
"Recently, my office has been flooded with complaints regarding the behavior of some members of this house," Edelstein wrote.
"Among the complaints there were claims that some Knesset members are eating and drinking in the plenum, others are speaking on their cell phones or using them to take pictures, uploading them with comments promoting their opinions.
"As members of the Knesset, I wish to remind you that the character and public image of the Knesset must be constantly in your mind. If we will not protect the Knesset's honor, no one will do it for us."
In response to the reactions, especially those from the web, Toporovsky published an additional status: "78 words lost the fight to one picture. For a moment, I was surprised at the circus the picture created, but if it allowed a large number of people to understand that new MKs (Aliza Lavie and Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli (Habayit Hayehudi)) spearheaded the legislation that promised that from now on rabbinical court judges will be selected by women as well, then I take it all with pride.
From now on, I'll sleep in a suit," he concluded.
Ehud Kenan and Tzvika Brot contributed to this report
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