Aides say Knesset members work hard – but don’t do their job well

The vast majority of aides responded that MKs do not come prepared for Knesset committee meetings and that the Knesset is not successful in overseeing the government.

May 7, 2017 18:42
1 minute read.
Israeli Knesset

Israeli Knesset. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)


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MKs are unprepared and ineffective, but they work hard and try to do their job well, according to an Israel Democracy Institute poll of parliamentary aides released Sunday.

The vast majority (92%) of aides responded that MKs do not come prepared for Knesset committee meetings and that the Knesset is not successful in overseeing the government (95%).

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Despite this, 67.5% of aides said MKs work hard and are trying to fulfill their duties.

According to the aides polled, MKs invest an appropriate amount of time preparing plenum sessions (72%).

In addition, most said MKs spend an appropriate amount of time on meetings related to parliamentary matters (65%), party-related activities (57%), public duties unrelated to parliamentary matters (67%) and media-related activities (55%).

Most aides (57%) said the MKs they work for spend over 10 hours drafting a bill.

Institute president Yohanan Plesner posited that this shows that “the problem is not just on the personal level or with regard to the public obligation of one MK or another. As long as no parliamentary reform is implemented – decreasing the number of committees and increasing the Knesset’s professionalism – we will continue to be disappointed by the quality of its work.”

Aides were evenly split, however, on questions relating to whether or not the number of MKs should be increased and whether or not they need larger personal staffs.

Almost all of them (97%) said media reports are unfair to the MKs, focusing too much on gossip and exceptional cases.

The institute also polled aides about the effectiveness of various parliamentary tools and departments, and the Knesset Research and Information Center received the highest marks.

Most MKs (60%) find plenary question hours to be effective, and nearly half (47%) said parliamentary questions are effective.

Only about a third (37%) said budgetary discussions are a good way for the Knesset to oversee the government.

The think tank sent the questions to the offices of all 91 MKs who are neither ministers nor deputy ministers and have parliamentary aides, and received responses from 41. The poll was conducted between March 14 and April 1 and has a margin of error of +/-11.66%.

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