The most socioeconomically minded MKs are Itzik Shmuly (Zionist Union), Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) and Dov Henin (Joint List), and the least is former finance minister Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, according to the annual Social Index study by the Mishmar Hevrati (Social Guard).
The study published on Tuesday ranked MKs based on their voting on socioeconomic issues over the past year. The organization is apolitical and staffed by volunteers.
It found that among coalition lawmakers, MK Merav Ben-Ari (Kulanu) finished first for the fourth year in a row, in part because she often violates coalition discipline on socioeconomic issues. Shmuly won among all MKs and opposition MKs for the fourth time but not in a row.
“The Knesset has gone through a wave of legislation which promotes narrow political and personal interests of coalition members at the expense of public interest, and undermines the basic foundations of democratic rule: transparency, good governance, and the most important value of all, equality before the law,” said Social Guard CEO Yossi Sarfaty. “The Social Index reveals that many opposition MKs, including senior ones, didn’t really make an effort to block this wave of legislation and have allowed the government to run the Knesset as it wishes, and it can be said that they have played a part in the deterioration.”
Lapid was ranked last among MKs in the study because of his poor participation in voting. For example, Lapid did not show up to vote on the law increasing allotments to Holocaust survivors, or to the vote on a law that allows ministers to appoint government advisers without a tender process.
MK Orly Levy-Abecassis, who resigned from Yisrael Beytenu in 2016 and announced last week that she was founding a new socioeconomically focused party, was ranked in 40th place, one of the lowest for opposition MKs. Levy-Abecassis did not show up for votes on legislation seeking to link old-age pensions to the minimum wage, or a proposed law allowing public transportation on the Sabbath.
Tamar Zandberg of Meretz, the only current MK running in the Meretz leadership primary on Thursday, dropped from sixth place in the previous index, to 22nd place, the lowest ranking of any Meretz MK. Zandberg did not participate in many of the votes over social legislation initiated by opposition members, and thus, she effectively helped block those bills. Zandberg, for example, did not bother to participate in the vote over proposed legislation to increase subsistence allotments for long-term care patients.
Meretz led in the average ranking of political parties on the Social Index, as it did in the previous index and most of the earlier ones. It is followed by the Zionist Union. The party ranked the lowest is United Torah Judaism, which in the past had been one of the most socioeconomically focused parties in the coalition. Kulanu was deemed the most socioeconomic political party in the coalition, followed by Yisrael Beytenu, which had in the past been ranked low on the index.