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danny danon.(Photo by: Courtesy)
Who's the most right-wing? New study ranks MKs' actions
Gil Stern Stern Hoffman
08/10/2009
Mattot Arim: Voters are consumers, and when consumers are informed, service providers must step up.
The MKs most loyal to the right-wing's agenda in the Knesset term that just ended were the Likud's Danny Danon and Yariv Levin and the National Union's Michael Ben-Ari and Arye Eldad, according to a comprehensive study by the Mattot Arim organization that will be distributed later this week to its mailing list of 21,000 Israelis. The organization compiled data since the new Knesset began work in February from cabinet meetings, Knesset sessions, voting, new legislation submitted, parliamentary inquiries, governmental actions, and statements in the press, political rallies, site tours and letters. MKs were also asked to submit additional information about the work they did. The issues identified as dear to the Right that were monitored included opposing the creation of a Palestinian state and the release of terrorists from prison and supporting Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria and the fight against terrorism. Mattot Arim spokeswoman Susie Dym said the study was intended to encourage elected officials to keep their campaign promises and justify their hefty salaries. She said a senior politician had tried to persuade her not to publish the study but that instead she intends to release such reports more regularly. "We [in Mattot Arim] are modeling ourselves after the magazine Consumer Reports in the United States," Dym said. "Voters are consumers, and some voters, especially in the nationalist camp, don't get particularly good service. These reports could change that, because when consumers are informed, service providers must step up." The top scorer in the study was Danon, followed by Ben-Ari, Levin, Eldad, National Union MK Uri Ariel, the Likud's Tzipi Hotovely and Habayit Hayehudi MK Uri Orbach. Among ministers, the top performers were the Likud's Gilad Erdan, Bennie Begin, Moshe Ya'alon and Yuli Edelstein. The lawmakers cited as disappointments for their failure to advance right-wing causes were deputy ministers Ya'acov Litzman (UTJ) and Danny Ayalon (Israel Beiteinu), who took zero steps to advance the Right's agenda. They were followed by several ministers who took only one step, including the Likud's Silvan Shalom, Yuval Steinitz, Dan Meridor and Limor Livnat, and Shas's Ya'acov Margi and Meshulam Nahari. Danon said he expected Likud members who will choose MKs for the next Knesset to reward him for his loyalty and to demote those who have not acted to promote the right-wing agenda. "Likud members are smart enough to check what the candidates said before the primary and see who talked and who actually does," Danon said. "I will continue working nonstop for the Likud to stick to its real policies and embrace Jerusalem and the settlements in Judea and Samaria despite the pressure from the Obama administration." Dym said the differences between MKs at the top of the list did not matter as much as the huge gap between the top and the lowest scorers. For instance, she pointed out the difference between Orbach, who took 23 steps to advance the Right, and his party chairman, Daniel Herschkowitz, who took only five. Asked whether ministers were not limited in what they could do to advance the Right according to her organization's criteria, Dym said they could have pushed for a cabinet vote on stopping the current settlement freeze, and they would likely have a majority to pass it if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu allowed a vote on the matter. Among the parties on the Right, the one that best represented its agenda according to the study was the National Union and the worst was United Torah Judaism.
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