MK Shelly Yachimovich Leads Knesset in Passing Legislation

MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) chalked up the largest number of new laws in the 18th Knesset so far. She drafted seven bills on her own that were passed into law and sponsored two more with MK Haim Katz (Likud). An additional three of Yachimovich's bills passed their first Knesset reading, and three more made it through a preliminary reading. Since her election in 2006, the Labor MK has pushed through 26 laws benefitting working-class and middle-class Israelis.

Second place is shared by Katz and Aryeh Eldad (National Union), with five laws each. MKs Haim Oron (Meretz) and Amnon Cohen (Shas) each passed three laws.

Yachimovich's Knesset colleagues say she is industrious and opinionated and does not hesitate to take on fat cats and the lobbyists who represent them. And while Labor is a member of the government coalition, Yachimovich often behaves as though she was in the opposition.

"Most of my parliamentary and public struggles are in the areas of labor and of capital markets, and in particular the swinishness of controlling shareholders and executives who plunder pension plans and cause damage to bondholders."

Yachimovich's successes this year include laws giving more protection against dismissals for seasonal employees and women undergoing fertility treatments, as well as one mandating the payment of home health care allowances directly to recipients rather than to personnel agencies.

Eldad passed five private members' bills in the current Knesset session, despite being in the opposition.

"Nearly all the laws I passed deal with health issues, which are important to the government and do not contradict its policies," Eldad explained. "In this respect the cabinet is aided by the Knesset, in effect," because private members' bills can sometimes be passed more quickly than ones submitted by the government.

In addition to co-sponsoring, with Yachimovich, the law restricting the firing of women undergoing fertility treatments, Oron sponsored a law against age discrimination and one mandating harsher punishments for assaults on medical personnel. Oron shares with chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) the honor of being the longest-serving member of the Knesset Finance Committee. He rarely misses a meeting, and is valued by his colleagues for his knowledge and his professionalism.