- Participation by invitation only
The award was conferred by Speaker of the Knesset Yoel (Yuli) Edelstein
IDI's Outstanding Parliamentarian Award is conferred annually to those Knesset Members who are determined to have exceptional parliamentary records. On July 23, 2013, the second IDI Outstanding Parliamentarian Award was awarded to Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and Orly Levy-Abekasis (Yisrael Beytenu), whose parliamentary activity during the fourth session of the 18th Knesset in 2012 was particularly noteworthy and established them as exemplary public representatives.
MKs Orly Levy-Abekasis (left) and Nitzan Horowitz (right)
MKs Levy-Abekasis and Horowitz were selected on the basis of their outstanding parliamentary activity and contributions to the Israeli democratic process. As a member of Knesset, MK Horowitz chaired the Committee on Foreign Workers, while MK Levy-Abekasis chaired the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Both MKs were highly active in proposing multiple bills and in using their parliamentary roles to supervise and oversee the work of government ministries. In particular, they made serious efforts to promote issues that are often overlooked, such as the rights of women, children, immigrants, and residents of the periphery.
The awards were conferred in the presence of Speaker of the Knesset Yoel (Yuli) Edelstein.
MKs Nitzan Horowitz and Orly Levy-Abekasis receive their awards from IDI President
Dr. Arye Carmon and Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein
- Justice Theodore Or, Israeli Supreme Court Vice President (Ret.)
- Professor Menachem Ben-Sasson, former Knesset member and President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Rabbi Itshak Levy, former Education Minister and IDI Senior Fellow
- Mr. Yair Tzaban, former Minister of Immigrant Absorption
- Prof. Gabriela Shalev, President of the Academic Council of Ono Academic College and former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations
- Prof. Anita Shapira, IDI Senior Fellow and Israel Prize laureate in history
As a first step, IDI researchers evaluated the parliamentary activities of the MKs based on a set of measureable indicators. These criteria included participation in plenary sessions, attendance of meetings of parliamentary committees, completion of legislation, submission of parliamentary questions and motions for the agenda, delivery of parliamentary speeches, use of research by the Knesset's Research and Information Center, and ethical behavior.
The findings were then submitted to the award committee, which was headed by Vice President of the Supreme Court (Ret.) Justice Theodor Or and was comprised of former Minister Yair Tzaban, former Minister Rabbi Itshak Levy, former Member of Knesset Menachem Ben-Sasson, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Professor Gabriela Shalev, and IDI Senior Fellow and Israel Prize laureate Professor Anita Shapira. The committee considered the data together with additional criteria such as the contribution of the candidates to promoting government legislation, contact with the public, and budgetary responsibility.
Speaker of the Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein praised the two award recipients as outstanding parliamentarians who strive for excellence and have tremendous integrity. Referring to an incident that took place just seven hours earlier, when an ultra-Orthodox Knesset member handcuffed himself to the speaker's podium in protest of the Haredi draft bill, Edelstein commended the recipients for the success of their work, which was conducted away from the media glare. He stressed the importance of the award, which shows that great parliamentary work can be done without such spectacles. He also commended the MKs for the impact they made in just two terms in office. He concluded his remarks with the hope that the work of these two outstanding parliamentarians will serve as an example for the 48 novice Knesset members elected to the 19th Knesset.
IDI President Dr. Arye Carmon stressed the importance of the award, emphasizing that it is IDI's hope that the prize will encourage other MKs to engage in high quality legislative work. He thanked the IDI researchers who developed the evaluation tools and the members of the award committee for their intensive work, and congratulated the award recipients. He then introduced Justice Theodore Or, chairman of the award committee, who read out the justifications for the awards.
MK Nitzan Horowitz acknowledged the hard work of legislation and cooperation with the government that actually takes place in the Knesset, despite public perceptions to the contrary. He stressed that the importance of the IDI award is that it reveals the real work being done by Knesset members—work that doesn't necessarily make it to the headlines.
MK Orly Levi-Abekasis, co-recipient of the award, spoke of the 18th Knesset's success in placing many issues on the public agenda that are often overlooked. She also stated that attending to appeals from the public is an integral part of her parliamentary work. In addition to thanking the award committee, MK Levi-Abekasis thanked her father, former Minister David Levy, who attended the ceremony and whom she sees as "an inspiration for how to conduct oneself as a Member of Knesset."