MK rating: The Zionist Union is no longer more socially minded than Yesh Atid

As the summer Knesset session draws to a close, the Social Guard publishes its MK rating: Itzik Shmuli and Hilik Bar (Zionist Union) are once again at the top of the list; at the bottom – Yehuda Glick (Likud). Miri Regev rose in the rating and Deputy Minister Michael Oren’s lackluster performance is especially striking when compared to the other members of Kulanu.

MK Miki Levy (Yesh Atid) placed third in the Social Index rating. This is the first time the Yesh Atid Knesset member has placed among the top ten in the Social Index. MKs Haim Jelin, Meir Cohen and Yael German (all from Yesh Atid) placed in the second ten, between the 11th and 20th slots, in the Social Index after – for four years – most of the top slots in the Social Index had been occupied by MKs from Meretz and the Labor party.

The top ten also finds Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union), who shot up to ninth place, from the 28-29th place, and Zehava Galon, Meretz chair, who moved up 13-15 places to the 10th slot, highest among all the Knesset faction heads. Dov Khenin (Joint List), Ilan Gilon and Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), as well as Merav Michaeli and Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) all won top slots, as they did in the previous index. The faction list is headed by Meretz, followed by – with almost identical ranking – the Zionist Union and Yesh Atid.

In both the Zionist Union and Yesh Atid, the weakest links in social legislation are the faction heads or rather those that purport to lead the factions: MK Yair Lapid himself prevented Yesh Atid from winning second place; Lapid placed among the lowest slots for all opposition MKs, due to his many absences from the Knesset, for which he was fined by the Ethics Committee.

The bottom places in the Zionist Union rating are occupied by Tzipi Livni, Amir Peretz and the Zionist Union Chair Isaac Herzog – also due to their sparse attendance at votes. All three were absent from the vote on the law aimed at protecting consumers from accumulating debt to cellular companies and other businesses; from the vote on the law that would enable dads to use their entitlement to part of maternity leave; from the vote on the law to allow the operation of public transportation on Shabbat and from the law aimed at easing the bureaucracy with which Holocaust survivors fighting for their rights have to contend with. They were also absent from the vote on the law to supervise the cost of baby food, the law to establish centers to help those entitled to pensions to get everything they are entitled to, and the vote on the law to increase the supervision of construction sites in order to prevent further accidents.

According to Nirit Moskovich, the executive director of the Social Guard, “One of the main factors responsible for holding up social legislation is the ruthless coalition discipline that makes it difficult for MKs who are members of the coalition to support social legislation or oppose legislation that is anti-social. MKs from the opposition, on the other hand, are free to vote according to their conscience. That is why it is so upsetting to see that those who purport to lead the entire opposition on behalf of a faction that self-identifies as socially minded are the very ones that fail on the most basic element of showing up to vote in the plenum, while the regular MKs in their parties bear the brunt of the burden.”

Minister of Culture MK Miri Regev (Likud), who in the previous Social Index placed last, rose in the current Social Index to 78th place, relatively high in comparison to the other ministers and most of the coalition MK Regev placed so badly in the previous index because she consistently voted with the coalition in the votes that the coalition mustered to prevent social legislation, whereas in the current Knesset session, she actually absented herself from many of these votes.

The least socially minded: Yehuda Glick (Likud), Yakov Asher (United Torah Judaism) and Michael Oren (Kulanu)

The last place in the Social Index is occupied by the new Likud MK Yehuda Glick. MK Nava Boker (Likud) placed 116th and Yariv Levin placed 115th. Glick, Boker and Levin consistently voted against social bills, such as the ones to raise the old-age pension and provide insurance coverage for employees in their first jobs. On the other hand, all three also made sure to vote with the coalition for a bill that helps tycoons at the expense of the public, such as the law that would allow the construction of luxury apartments on Israel’s beaches.

The most socially minded MK in the coalition, for the second time running, is Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu), followed by her fellow faction members Tali Ploskov and Akram Hasoon. Thanks to them, Kulanu once again won first place in the rating among the coalition factions. Ben Ari made sure to be present at the votes on all social bills that the coalition did not oppose, such as imposing greater supervision on construction sites. However, Kulanu’s rating was set back somewhat due to the low placing by Deputy Minister MK Michael Oren, who placed third from the last at 118 on the scale.

The Social Index, published by the Social Guard, rates Knesset Members based on their voting patterns in the Knesset plenum on legislative bills of a socioeconomic nature. The MKs’ rating goes up the more they vote in favor of socially minded laws and against anti-social laws, and vice versa. The calculation is done using the “Open Knesset” open-code system developed by the Public Knowledge Workshop.

“The aim of monitoring and reviewing the votes of the ministers and Knesset Members is to create public pressure that will remind them that they were elected to promote legislation for the benefit of Israel’s public and society,” says Michal Eden, Research Coordinator for the Social Guard. “In many cases, it is evident that the coalition MKs that placed high in the rating did so because they kept their voting to a minimum. This is an effective tactic in terms of the result, but we expect them to fight the sweeping coalition discipline that prevents them from advancing social legislation.”

For further details: Tani Goldstein 053-3369400.

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