Terrorism Fears Prompt Israeli Knesset to Tuck Away Cafeteria Cutlery

The forks and knives in the Israeli Knesset cafeteria have been placed out of easy reach, a move that was described by parliamentary officials as a precaution against terrorism.

The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported Thursday that the cutlery cart was moved from its previous prominent location over “fears that the knives could be used in a stabbing attack.”

According to Ma’ariv, the dining utensils were moved from its usual position — a corridor used by “hundreds of people” every day — to the cash register area, which is considered less accessible.

In this Thursday, May 14, 2015 photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with members of the opposition side of the Knesset (Parliament) in Jerusalem, after he was sworn in as Prime Minister for the fourth time, to lead the 34th Israeli government. (Jim Hollander/pool via AP)
In this May 14 photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with members of the opposition side of the Knesset in Jerusalem after he was sworn in as prime minister for the fourth time. (Jim Hollander/pool via AP)

A Knesset source told the Israeli publication that the intention was to reduce the danger of a spontaneous attack.

“Such a step could prevent an attack from someone who could get the idea to grab a knife and do something inside the Knesset,” the unnamed source said.

Israelis have faced nearly daily Palestinian stabbing attacks since last month — while Palestinian social media has been filled with calls for further attacks. Israel’s Arutz Sheva observed:

While it’s unlikely that the standard dining knives used in the dining room could do much harm — and despite the fact that the dining room, as well as other parts of the building, is protected by numerous armed guards — it was felt that even a failed attempt of a stabbing attack in the Knesset would be too much of a shock for MKs, and for Israelis in general.

Before the cutlery relocation, Likud Member of Knesset Anat Berko raised concerns about the safety of lawmakers given the current environment. She recently requested that all lawmakers undergo a search every time they enter the building.

In a letter to the speaker of the Knesset translated by the Jewish Press, Berko wrote, “Under current practice, members of the Knesset do not undergo a security check at the entrance to the building. Recently we have seen MKs who are inciting violence, like MK Jamal Zahalka and MK Hanin Zoabi, who called for a real intifada in a Hamas publication.”

Zahalka and Zoabi are Arab members of Knesset with the Joint List Party who regularly articulate support for the Palestinians and criticism of Israel. Zoabi has claimed that the Israeli army “hunts down Palestinian youths and kills them.” On a recent visit to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Zahalka screamed at Jewish visitors whom he called “crazy criminals” and told them they had no right to be there.

“This is not yours, get out of here, go home, you’re not wanted,” Zahalka told Jewish visitors at the site holiest in their faith earlier this month.

“The concern is that Knesset members or their assistants can bring knives or other means that could be used to harm MKs, considering the current security conflagration,” Berko’s office told Ma’ariv.