The Knesset's Ethics Committee has drafted a report regarding MKs' absence from meetings during its summer session. The committee ruled that out of 120 MKs, 116 fulfilled their duty of attending summer session's meetings.
Four exceptions were noted: Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and MK Said Naffaa (Balad) who failed to attend the minimal number of meetings permitted.
Barak attended 13 Knesset meetings and was absent from 25, six meetings above the stipulated limit.
"The minister argued that he was absent due to overseas travels as part of political missions, professional tours and a vacation," The Ethics Committee's decision noted.
The committee ruled that since official travels are included under the law of immunity pertaining for minister's absence from up to half of all Knesset meetings, it was decided to withhold 6-days worth of Barak's salary.
Minister Ben-Eliezer was absent from 23 meetings, four meetings above the limit. The minister explained his absences by referring to participation in professional tours as well as in an exhibition on behalf of the ministry. The committee withheld 4-days worth of his wages.
Minister Avigdor Lieberman was found to be absent from 21 meetings. However, he was not disciplined since the committee accepted his argument of travels abroad for work purposes and stated in its decision that "the very essence of a Foreign minister's role provides reasonable justification for absences."
Meanwhile, MK Said Naffaa will lose payment for 9 working days for being absent from 19 meetings. He too argued that travels abroad for work purposes were the reason for his absences.
Minister Ben-Eliezer's bureau issued a statement referring to Ethics Committee Chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich's decision as "embittered and unfair" and expressed resentment over the publication of the decision prior to granting the parties involved a chance to comment or appeal.
The statement further noted that as part of his work-related travels, Minister Ben-Eliezer went abroad for a meeting with the Egyptian president at the prime minister's request to advance the peace process, and expressed regret that the committee failed to point that the minister's travels were always for work purposes while making such note in the case of the foreign minister.