Parliamentary Work Index for Israel’s Political Parties

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A Special Analysis by the Israel Democracy Institute on which MKs make the most use of the parliamentary tools available to them.

Illustration | Flash 90

A special survey by Shahaf Zamir, Avital Fridman, and Dr. Assaf Shapira of IDI's Center for Governance and the Economy, calculated the statistics regarding parliamentary work done by Knesset members (excluding ministers and deputy ministers) in the political parties according to ten parameters, including; attendance at the plenary and in committees, submitting queries and proposals to the daily agenda, addressing the plenary, voting in the plenary, using the Knesset’s Research and Information Center, and passing bills.

According to IDI's Parliamentary Work Index, the members of the United Torah Judaism faction are the ones who make the most use of the parliamentary tools available to them, closely followed by the members of the Meretz faction. The members of Zionist Union are at the bottom of the list, with Yisrael Beiteinu ranked slightly above them.

However, the total calculation that includes the parliamentary work of each faction is slightly misleading. For example, the Joint List faction, which is located in the middle of the general index, is among the leading parties when it comes to some of the indices, such as parliamentary queries, speeches in the plenary, proposals for the daily agenda, and obtaining documents from the Knesset’s Research and Information Center, but has a very low ranking in other indices.

Which party’s Knesset members pass the most laws?

Not surprisingly, the factions that are members of the coalition — particularly Habayit Hayehudi, United Torah Judaism, and Kulanu — head the list, while Joint List, Yesh Atid, and Zionist Union pass the fewest number of laws. Meretz, whose members pass more laws than all the opposition parties, is high on the list.

Which party submits the most parliamentary queries?

The opposition factions are usually the ones who submit the highest number of parliamentary queries, since the purpose of such inquiries is to supervise the government. Accordingly, the Joint List, whose members submit the highest number of parliamentary queries, places high in this ranking, closely followed by Meretz. Surprisingly, United Torah Judaism, a coalition party, ranks just below them. Other coalition parties — Kulanu, Shas, and Likud — submit few parliamentary queries.

When it comes to obtaining documents from the Knesset’s Research and Information Center — a tool that the coalition and opposition alike can use — the members of Meretz ask for and receive the highest number of documents, followed by those of Kulanu. At the bottom of the list are the members of Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu, who do not request research documents.

Which party is the most inquisitive?

The members of the opposition parties — Meretz, Joint List, and Zionist Union — make the highest number of speeches, while the coalition parties — Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu, and Kulanu — make hardly any. Among the coalition parties, the members of United Torah Judaism and Habayit Hayehudi address the plenary the most.

Attendance and Absence

The members of the coalition parties — United Torah Judaism, Habayit Hayehudi, and Kulanu — have the highest rates of attendance in the Knesset building, while the members of Meretz, Joint List, and Yisrael Beiteinu are at the bottom of the list. It is important to note that these statistics refer to MKs who are in the building, and not necessarily in the Knesset plenary.

When it comes to attendance in committees, United Torah Judaism, Shas, and Kulanu are at the top of the list, while Zionist Union, Yisrael Beiteinu, and Joint List rank lower.

Who comes to vote?

A survey of Knesset members’ performance from last year alone shows that the members of Yisrael Beiteinu, who are not often present at committees or in the Knesset building, make sure to attend votes more than the members of any other party. They are followed by the members of Shas and Meretz, while the members of Likud, Joint List, and Yesh Atid have the lowest rankings.

Who initiates the most debates?

Sectoral parties — such as ultra-Orthodox parties (Shas and United Torah Judaism) and the Joint List, a predominantly Arab party — rank at the top of the list of those who submit proposals for the daily agenda on various subjects being discussed in committees and in the plenary, likely because of the obligation to cater specifically to their voters. By comparison, the members of the large parties — Likud and Zionist Union — make little use of this tool.