- Participation by invitation only
The Knesset (by invitation only)
On June 7, 2016, the Israel Democracy Institute's Outstanding Parliamentarian Award was bestowed on MKs Moshe Gafni and Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin at a ceremony held in the Knesset and attended by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.
At the event, Edelstein said: "It is very important that there is a body that measures parliamentary activity according to criteria that truly reflect the work of the MKs. This is especially true during an era in which the standout MKs are those who simply receive any kind of media coverage. MK Gafni breaks down stigmas in Israeli society through the diversity of his work. MK Nahmias-Verbin is an excellent example of a newly minted MK doing serious parliamentary work, rather than looking for cheap headlines."
Edelstein added, "The positive work of the MKs is important to me, not just as a Knesset speaker, but also as part of the people of Israel.
Gafni said: "As a proud ultra-Orthodox Jew, I think that when something in Israel is good in for everyone, it is good specifically for the ultra-Orthodox. When it is bad for everyone, it is 70 times worse for the ultra-Orthodox. This approach is different than how things were in the past. In the last decade, we have been worrying about the entire community – and that is especially so in the current Knesset. For example, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman is seen by the general public as the most outstanding government minister. Today, we can all work together in 90 percent of the cases. Headlines come from work that is not worth anything, whereas for the substantive work we do in the Knesset there are no headlines. I praise IDI for taking into account the extensive, never-ending work that is done in the parliament."
Nahmias-Verbin said: "I come to the Knesset every morning with a joy to work; I love my work. It makes me emotional to see that an organization like the Israel Democracy Institute recognizes my daily work, even though it is not what is 'liked' on Facebook or retweeted, and even though sometimes I fail. In my eyes, there are many important issues that need to be dealt with. They are not always those that the media finds juicy. But I believe in continuing to dig into the work. When I deal with an issue, I am determined to achieve success. The people of Israel do not have small problems and I see this every day in my work."
The head of the prize committee was retired Judge Theodore Orr, the former deputy president of the Supreme Court. Other selection committee members included Hebrew University President Prof. Menachem Ben Sasson, former minister Rabbi Yitzhak Levy, former UN Ambassador Prof. Gavriella Shalev and former MK Dr. Lea Nass. They spent a long time deliberating over a series of qualitative and quantitative statistics about parliament members' activities.
The IDI issued the following statement about the event: "Especially in days in which the public's trust in their elective representatives has hit a nadir and the rifts in society are deepening, there is not replacement for professional, quality parliamentary work. The winners of the prize are a model for daily work of public servants and therefore it is important to stop and express appreciation for what they do and call upon them and other MKs to continue their fundamental parliamentary work."