Eitan Cabel was the most socially conscious member of the Labor Party faction during the 19th Knesset, according to the results of the “Social Index,” which examined every Member of the Knesset based on their voting record on socioeconomic bills and the percentage of Knesset votes they attended. Cabel received the high score of 96.1 – close to the maximum possible score of 100 – in part due to his frequent presence at Knesset votes. Cabel comes in first place in the Labor Party faction for his presence at votes – he appeared at 67% of the 425 votes that appeared – significantly higher than the Labor Party average of 43% participation. Additionally, in 3 out of the 4 sessions of the 19th Knesset, Cabel ranked as the 2nd most socially conscious of all 120 Members of Knesset.
In fact, much like in previous iterations of the Social Index, the majority of Labor Party Knesset Members scored very highly. Overall, the faction’s members received an average score of just over 85 points, compared to the general Knesset average of roughly 40. The five highest-scoring members of the party are: Eitan Cabel, Moshe Mizrahi, Nachman Shai, Merav Michaeli, and Mickey Rosenthal. Among these five, of particular note is Merav Michaeli, who scored highly despite a relatively low presence at votes, meaning that she had a high “effectiveness” rating. This means that when she attend votes, she voted social. Michaeli also comes in as the highest-rated female Member of Knesset.
The Social Index is published at the end of each Knesset session and examines how Members of Knesset voted on socio-economic bills. Votes that align with the values of the Social Guard in the Knesset win Members of the Knesset positive points, while those that clash with the Social Guard’s values lead to negative points. Non-votes do not affect the ranking in either direction. The index of the 19th Knesset includes all of its sessions, with votes weighted based on in which session they occurred and on their perceived importance to create a range of possible scores from 100 downward. A list of all the bills that were examined in the Social Index is available in Hebrew here.
The Social Index is being published by party leading up to each of the political parties’ primaries in order to give party members the opportunity to make a more informed decision about for whom to vote. In this Tuesday’s Labor Party primaries, 36 candidates are competing for roughly 16 open spots on the party’s slate for the upcoming elections. The rest of the realistic spots on the list are taken up by various other candidates, including several spots reserved for members of Tzipi Livni’s Movement Party. All of the party’s current Knesset members are running for reelection with the exception of Avishai Braverman and Binyamin Ben Eliezer, who retired, and party leader Isaac Herzog and party general secretary Hilik Bar, whose spots are ensured.
Within the Labor Party itself, it is possible to discern two separate groupings of Knesset members: The “Young Generation” votes relatively uniformly and takes up much of the higher rankings within the Social Index (with the exceptions being Eitan Cabel and Nachman Shai, more veteran members of the party with high scores); the older generation, on the other hand – Shelly Yachimovich, Isaac Herzog, Avishay Braverman, Erel Margalit, and Binyamin Ben Eliezer – scores lower on the Index. Erel Margalit, who scored second to last among Labor MKs, participated in less than a quarter of all eligible votes (104 of 425), and ended up with a score of 69.5, a number surpassed by coalition MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid). Margalit is attempting to sell himself as a senior minister in the next government – but it appears he forgot that he first needed to excel at his job as a Member of the Knesset. Another relatively weak member of the faction is general secretary Hilik Bar, who did roughly the opposite of Michaeli – he showed up to the third most number of votes of party members, yet came in sixth place on the Social Index.
During the time that Shelly Yachimovich was head of the opposition, she only showed up to 41% of all votes; since she was replaced by Herzog in late 2013, her voting presence has only decreased, dropping to as low as 18% during the Winter 2014 session.
And what about the Labor Party’s representatives from the 2011 Social Justice Protest Movement? Both are doing great work as Members of the Knesset. Stav Shaffir has been notably active fighting against budgetary transfers that take money from social welfare programs in favor of the Israeli civilian presence in the West Bank and the security budget as a member of the Finance Committee. Itzik Shmuli, who ranked as the Most Social member of the Knesset during the shortened Summer 2014 session, ended up in 8th place in the party, with an overall score of 86.9. Shmuli ranked lower during the first two sessions of the 19th Knesset before noticeably improving his score during the last two sessions.