Perhaps because the Knesset building is undoubtedly stout and built up to standard, Israeli MKs seem disturbingly unconcerned about the possibility of an earthquake rocking the country. This judging by the marked lack of presence at a debate held Wednesday at the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, discussing a bill to reinforce old homes in order to make them quake-proof.
Only one MK out of 15 bothered to show up as the debate this proposed bill commenced, MK Sara Marom-Shalev of the Pensioners Party, keeping Committee Chairman Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) company in the empty Knesset hall, flanked only by a few dozen guests.
The two MKs were later joined by MK Nadia Hilou of the Labor Party, who was late for the committee meeting because she had participated in another Knesset debate.
Two earthquakes have recently rocked Israel, one on November 20 and the other four days later, making this proposed bill a potential lifesaver for hundreds if not thousands of Israelis should a really big quake strike.
In spite of the notable absence of the majority of the Knesset committee members involved, many visitors frequented the meeting, indicating its marked urgency. In fact, committee chairman Pines ordered ushers not to allow additional visitors into the hall.
The MKs that did attend this meeting, noted that very few efforts have been made to date to reinforce old structures so that they can withstand a major quake. Most such renovations must be privately funded by the residents involved. Treasury officials indicated that the government lacks the resources to fund such renovations.