MK Hasson on low voting participation: Not an important measure

MKs participated in less than half of votes on average; Kadima's Hasson at bottom of list with under 5%.

Yisrael Hasson 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Yisrael Hasson 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
A lawmaker’s job is more than just pressing a button to vote, MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima) said Tuesday, defending himself for having the lowest voting rate of all MKs.
Hasson only voted in 4.7 percent of plenum votes – 29 out of 613. Other MKs at the bottom of the voting list are Eli Yishai (Shas) at 5.7%, Hanin Zoabi (Balad) at 11.9%, Taleb Abu-Arrar (UAL-Ta’al) at 17.3% and Avigdor Liberman (Likud Beytenu) at 17.8%, according to a study by Ha’aretz.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni was the lowest-ranking minister, in 111th place, with 22.3%. Other MKs participated in an average of 46% of votes.
“I came to the Knesset to work. I won’t give in to a populist article with an untrue description of parliamentary activity,” Hasson told Army Radio.
“This isn’t an important measure of my work.”
He explained that he was present for most of the votes, but he offset ministers and MKs that were absent.
Offsetting – or kizuzim – is a common practice in the Knesset whereby an MK in the coalition or opposition will skip a vote to counteract the absence of a lawmaker on the other side. Legislators use this practice for myriad reasons, ranging from ideological stances to health to family weddings and other events.
The Kadima MK pointed out that he submitted two bills in the Knesset’s summer session, which ended last week, but that they haven’t reached the Knesset because they have yet to be discussed at the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.
“I think I can make my own judgment [as to when to vote]. Look at the protocols of Knesset committees and see how many times I participated! I don’t want to brag; I just hope my actions speak for themselves,” Hasson said.
Coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu) backed up Hasson, telling Army Radio “voting isn’t everything” and “Hasson is someone who has a lot of influence in Knesset committees.”
The MKs who participated in the most votes are Levin at 80.3% or 492 votes, Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levi (Yesh Atid) at 78.1%, Hamed Amar (Likud Beytenu) at 75.7%, Rina Frankel (Yesh Atid) at 74.1% and Boaz Toporovsky (Yesh Atid) at 73.7%.
Welfare Minister Meir Cohen was the only minister to make it into the top 20 at 71.6%.
The party whose MKs vote most is newcomer Yesh Atid at 60%, followed by the Bayit Yehudi at 54%, and is also comprised of mostly new lawmakers. Kadima has the lowest voting rate at 13%, followed by Balad at 24%.