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Study finds Elkin, Struck most effective MKs for Right
By GIL HOFFMAN
03/07/2014
Haredi MKs singled out for poor showing; Likudniks with poorest grades were Ophir Akunis, Gila Gamliel, Haim Katz, President-elect Reuven Rivlin.
 
The Knesset members who serve the right-wing nationalist camp best are Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) and Yariv Levin (Likud), according to a biannual study by the right-wing activist organization Mattot Arim.

The organization monitors how MKs in Likud, Yisrael Beytenu, Bayit Yehudi, Shas and United Torah Judaism serve their right-wing constituencies by taking action, passing legislation, and making public statements that help the causes of the Right.

The 18 categories examined in the survey included preventing the creation of a Palestinian state, dealing with European hostility, maintaining Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and advancing construction in Judea and Samaria.

“In the past, the Left had very high-caliber, high-powered legislators and the Right was notorious for its mediocre, passive representatives,” Mattot Arim spokeswoman Susie Dym said. “But the Right is now sporting fabulous candidates with great talents.

This is the power of the press and Internet. It used to be that only the Left was properly covered by the media, but now the National Camp has press coverage as well, so the more energetic, effective candidates are just leaping forward.”

Elkin, who won 46 points, was given credit in the study for threatening to resign from his post as deputy foreign minister in January if concessions were made to US Secretary of State John Kerry, relaying a right-wing agenda in meetings with European officials, and adding the City of David to the itinerary of journalists who came to cover the visit of Pope Francis.

“I am working for what I believe in, not to win top grades in studies,” Elkin said. “I try to be effective and change things for the better. That’s why I entered politics. It’s nice that right-wing organizations recognize my work, but my goal is to make changes, and there is still a lot of work to do.”

Struck finished second with 40 points, followed by Levin with 36, Bayit Yehudi’s Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel with 32, Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked with 29, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin with 24, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett with 23, and Likud’s Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon with 22.

Inside Likud, the MKs who received the poorest grades included Ophir Akunis, Gila Gamliel, Haim Katz, President- elect Reuven Rivlin and Negev and Galilee Development Minister Silvan Shalom.

Rivlin and Shalom were busy over the past six months with the race for president, as was Katz, who was Rivlin’s campaign manager.

In Bayit Yehudi, the least effective MKs for the Right were Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach, who has been very ill, and Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman, who concentrates on socioeconomic issues.

Yisrael Beytenu’s top MKs in the study were party leader Avigdor Liberman and Shimon Ohayon, who received points for focusing on Jews from Arab states as the real refugees in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Yisrael Beytenu MKs who fared worst in the study were Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirschenbaum and Orly Levy-Abecassis.

The study singled out United Torah Judaism as serving the nationalist agenda poorly.

No UTJ MK scored more than two points and four haredi (ultra-Orthodox) MKs won zero: Shas leader Arye Deri, Shas MK Ya’acov Margi, and UTJ MKs Moshe Gafni and Yisrael Eichler. The most effective haredi MKs were Shas’s Eli Yishai and Nissim Ze’ev.

Dym complained about the ineffectiveness of haredi MKs in light of polls that show that their voters are hawkish. Her organization is scheduled to provide the haredi legislators an in-depth report on the dangers that a Palestinian state poses to their constituencies in particular.

“It is not clear how long these voters will put up with representatives who, as a matter of course, refrain from doing their fair share,” she said. “[Late Shas mentor] Rabbi Ovadia Yosef left a clear will and testament in his own handwriting about Land of Israel issues, and it seems like Deri, who claims to be continuing the legacy of this leader, is doing the exact opposite so far.”
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