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Photo by: Courtesy Dov Lipman
MKs Lipman, Cabel top Knesset 'Social Index'
By LAHAV HARKOV
26/03/2014
The party that took the most action on social issues is Labor, with a score of 37.7, while Bayit Yehudi ranked lowest with -3.2 points.
 
MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) and MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) are the most socially-minded and diligent lawmakers in the coalition and opposition, respectively, according to The Social Guard, a transparency and civic participation NGO whose “Social Index” for the Knesset’s winter session was released Tuesday.

Lipman tied with MK Boaz Toporovsky (Yesh Atid) for most involved in social issues, while Cabel came in second place in the category, following MK Dov Henin (Hadash).

Both Lipman and Cabel topped the most diligent list for the Knesset session that ended two weeks ago.

The most socially-minded lawmakers in other parties are MKs Ilan Gilon (Meretz), Uri Maklev (UTJ), Avraham Michaeli (Shas), Hanin Zoabi (Balad), Ahmad Tibi (UALTa’al), Meir Sheetrit (Hatnua), Yisrael Hasson (Kadima), Reuven Rivlin and Hamed Amar (Likud Beytenu), and Shul Muallem (Bayit Yehudi).

The Social Guard ranked MKs according to how they voted on social issues. A vote is considered “social” if, according to the NGO’s staff, it meets one of the following criteria: ensuring housing for all, employment rights, food and water, physical and mental health, education, social security or the ability to make a living, just distribution of resources and fair management of the economy, preventing discrimination and allowing democratic participation.

Only two presidential candidates have an above-average diligence score – Rivlin, with 48 percent, and Sheetrit, with 36%, while the average is 34%.

Sheetrit is the only presidential candidate who is in the top half of the social-involvement ranking.

The diligence ranking is based only on participation in votes on socio-economic issues in the plenum and committees, without considering how MKs voted. Lipman has the highest score of all in the Knesset with 90% participation, followed by coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu) with 83%, while MKs Eli Yishai (Shas) and Taleb Abu-Arrar (UAL-Ta’al) had the lowest attendance score, 5%.

The party that took the most action on social issues is Labor, with a score of 37.7, while Bayit Yehudi ranked lowest with -3.2 points.

A Bayit Yehudi source took issue with The Social Guard’s methodology, saying “it does not take into consideration the makeup of our faction. Out of 12 MKs, we have three ministers and two deputy ministers who do not propose bills or vote in committees, and two senior committee chairpeople – finance and haredi enlistment – leaving five very socially active MKs.”

MK Merav Michaeli said “the index shows that there are those who talk about the middle class” – a reference to Yesh Atid’s election campaign – “but those who really care about the middle class and those below them is Labor.”

“Labor is the alternative to the Bibi-Bennett-Lapid government that neglected the public and Israel’s security,” Michaeli added. “I am proud to be part of the most socially-minded faction in the Knesset, part of an excellent team in which we all work together to make a better society that is more equal where one can make a living with dignity and live quietly and securely.”

Social Guard director Boaz Rakocz said he hopes that MKs would have the same determination on socioeconomic issues as they did on haredi enlistment, electoral reform, and the referendum on land concessions, which came to a vote two weeks ago.

“Unlike the previous Knesset, which we examined in its last year, we’re looking at the 19th Knesset from the day it was elected and our Social Index proves who talks and legislates with social issues in mind,” Rakocz said.
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