Watchdog Warns Ministers: We're Following You, We Won't Forget
An Israeli watchdog group, Mattot Arim, reminded ministers and other elected officials Wednesday that their votes on plans to release terrorist murderers are being recorded, "for posterity and for primaries".
The watchdog group, Mattot Arim, is releasing its semi-annual comparative report on ministers and Knesset Members just after the recent Israeli Government vote in which many ministers angered the public by voting to release more than 100 convicted terrorist murderers, but Mattot Arim insisted that the timing was coincidental.
"In the post-Gush Katif Disengagement period we undertook to regularly publish a detailed comparison of ministers' and Knesset members' achievements, and we have done that," the group said in a press statement.
"If universities are entitled to receive psychometric exam results which highlight which students are better than which," they explained, "then Israeli right-wing voters are certainly entitled to receive achievement reports which highlight which ministers and Knesset Members are better than which, hence who deserves to be voted in again. Otherwise, how will everybody know who to vote for?"
Mattot Arim said that they collect political information not just before elections but over the entire term of a government, so that each report covers about half a year of parliamentary and government activity "or inactivity, since certain Ministers and MKs are politically catatonic and accomplish very little for the National Camp. The public deserves to know that".
The top score for male legislators in the current semi-annual report – 60 out of 70 possible points – was given to Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud). This did not mean that Elkin was the most right-wing legislator, Mattot Arim said, but that he was the most efficient and pro-active in garnering achievements on behalf of the right-wing voting public.
Elkin was followed by Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennet with 57 points, Likud's Moshe Feiglin with 55 points and Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) who tied with Feiglin. Katz was also the only Likud minister this week to announce in advance that he was committed to voting against the terrorists' release.
For women legislators, novice Knesset Member Orit Struk tied Elkin at 60 points; Mattot Arim characterized her as "an Israeli Abigail Adams whose striking political talent became apparent before she was even elected". Struk is also a workaholic, Mattot Arim said, "and we'd love to see many more MKs with that type of energy level."
Other high-scoring female leaders were Zipi Hotovely (47 points) and Ayelet Shaked (42 points). But in general, the female legislators scored lower than the men.
The organization said that data for the report was collected from the media, from the Mattot Arim activist community's firsthand knowledge, and from the ministers and MKs themselves, both from websites, press releases and social networks, and by personal communication.
Mattot Arim added that if more legislators had made the appropriate statements regarding the idea of ceding land to the PA, the dangers of the Kerry initiative might have been averted entirely. Only 14 legislators came out publicly against Palestinian state in the period of the Report, the organization said, only 16 legislators slammed the building freeze, and only 21 ministers or MKs spoke out against releasing terrorists. As a result, the NGO said, "the vocal and pro-active Palestinians simply beat us and won the game – or this round of it at least".
Mattot Arim said that the right's alternative plans for the Land of Israel needed to replace the Palestinian state "notion which is out-of-date, unsafe, unjust, un-patriotic and bad for business" and that it was imperative for Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky's freedom of prayer initiative to include freedom of worship "for Jewish pilgrims to the Temple Mount rather than just for feminists at the Western Wall".