A lobby, (the Hebrew word “Shdula”), is defined as a group of persons actively trying to
influence legislators or other public officials in favor of a specific cause. A lobbyist
in the Knesset is an individual – either a Knesset Member or an activist from the outside -
who tries to influence the legislation or decision-making of Knesset Members. Lobby
activity is an integral part of the democratic political process, and it allows individuals
or groups to express their opinions and to participate in policy-making. The activity of
any particular lobby usually focuses around one specific issue rather than on a variety
There are two types of lobbies that function in the Knesset.
Lobbies of Interest Groups:
These are lobbies consisting of public-relations professionals who represent interest groups.
The organization of their activity within the Knesset is anchored in the “Knesset Building,
Plaza, and Guard Law - 1968” and in the “Knesset Building and Plaza Ordinances – 1994.”
The activists who enter the Knesset may do so only with the approval of the Knesset Speaker.
They must make it public knowledge those in the Knesset that they are lobbyists and that
they are aware of the following rules: The lobbyist is not allowed to coerce any MK into
committing to vote a certain way or to act a certain way toward the lobbyist; the lobbyist
is forbidden from misleading any MK regarding facts connected to any decisions or legislation.
If any activist disregards these rules, the Knesset Speaker reserves the right to revoke
his/her entrance permit.
Today, approximately thirty lobbyists who work in advertising and public relations firms
have fixed entrance permits into the Knesset. Each lobbyist represents at least two interest
groups such as the Contractors’ Union, Council of Accountants, environmental organizations,
and banks. Currently, there is no periodic reporting or accounting of the activities of these
lobbyists, and this issue has been turned over to the House Committee for processing and
incorporation into the Knesset Rules of Procedure.
Knesset Members’ Lobbies
These lobbies consist of Knesset Members who unite regarding a particular issue. The Knesset
does not interfere in their doings, and the activities of these lobbies are anchored in the
Knesset House Committee decision of April 1, 1997. That decision states that Knesset Members
are permitted to form lobbies without any explicit permission regarding issues that are
currently being discussed in the Knesset committees. The Knesset will not fund any
activity of these lobbies, although the individual Knesset Members may use funds from
their own budgets for Contact with the Public. The Knesset Members’ lobbies may not use
committee rooms for their meetings, thereby preventing any misconception that the lobby meeting
is official Knesset business. Any other rooms in the Knesset, such as MK or parliamentary
group offices may be used. When a lobby invites participants, it must be made clear that
the lobby is extending the invitation and not any official Knesset organization.
The currently functioning Knesset lobbies presented on this website are all Knesset Members'