Knesset Officials: No New Non-Leather Chair for Vegan MK

View of the Knesset Plenary Hall, ahead of the opening Knesset session of the new government, on Monday. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

On Tuesday afternoon, 120 members of the 21st Knesset will undergo their inauguration and take their seats – except perhaps for one. Knesset officials said Tuesday that they had turned down a request by new Blue and White MK Miki Haimovich that her leather chair be replaced by one made of material of non-animal origin.

Knesset Director General Albert Sacharovich responded to a letter sent by Haimovich Monday making the request by saying that switching out her chair was not possible.

In her letter, Haimovich protested against the use of chairs “made of the skins of cows,” saying that as a vegan the idea was repugnant to her because such animals were generally treated cruelly. She said that she wanted the seats of all 120 Knesset members switched out, but realized that this could not be done within a day, but that this could be accomplished by the end of the Knesset summer session – but meanwhile, she would like her own seat to be changed.

In an interview on Army Radio, Saharovich said that Haimovich was not the first MK to make this request. “In the last Knesset we had two MKs who asked for non-leather seats, but those seats remained as they were. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein considered the request as well but decided to turn it down. This is not about money.” In addition, he said, Haimovich was mistaken when she said that the chairs were covered in leather derived from cows; in reality, they are covered in deerskin.