MKs lured into joining trip to save Australia’s kangaroos
The fictitious organisation, Save Australian Marsupials (SAM), created by Israel’s Channel 2, offered the opportunity for MKs to participate in a free trip to Australia.
The invitation was sent to all 120 Knesset lawmakers. Whilst posed as a tour directed at addressing the pressing issue of Australia’s endangered species, Channel 2 was in effect testing the willingness of parliamentarians to travel overseas according to a report from The Times of Israel news site.
Rotem Chomsky, a Channel 2 investigate journalist, acted as SAM’s local Israel representative. All interested MKs were required to call Rotem and explain why they should be selected to participate in the tour. Explanations ranged from concern for the environment to personal ownership of a pet dog. Perhaps MKs were particularly enthusiastic to help save the marsupials after footage of zookeeper Greig Tonkins punching a kangaroo went viral in early December.
Despite SAM being a fictitious organisation with no website, fourteen MKs from five parties called Rotem to express their interest.
The Knesset Ethics Committee, the body responsible for investigating the conferences to which MKs are invited, even approved the trip.
The tour to Australia was scheduled to take place in the last week of March, the final days of the Knesset’s winter session. The enthusiasm of some MKs to travel overseas was clearly demonstrated, but unfortunately no such trip to save the kangaroos will be taking place.