In Knesset, More Lobbyists Than Lawmakers

Over the last year, same four big firms serve over half of 451 clients – a situation slammed as 'over-concentration' by liberal nonprofit group.

The Knesset, June 8, 2016.
Emil Salman

There was a 43-percent rise last year in the number of registered lobbyists in the Knesset – from 93 in June 2015 to 133 in June 2016. There was also a 31-percent increase in the number of clients, which totalled 451, as opposed to 345 last year.

These numbers appear in an index of Knesset lobbyists compiled by Shabi Gatenio, founder of a nonprofit called the Association for Progressive Democracy.

Although the number of registered clients rose by 106 in the course of the last year, the same main players are dominating the field: Four large lobbying groups – Policy, Goren Amir, Impact and Gilad Government Relations, and Lobbying – represent 251 clients, or 55.6 percent of the total.

Gatenio warned that “this situation is more serious than the numbers imply since not only is there a very large number of clients represented by these four companies, but these are the biggest ones.”

The number and sheer volume of these clients is also problematic, he said.

Added Gatenio: “Unfortunately, the anti-trust law does not at present prohibit parallel representation of competing clients by one lobbying company, or even the representation of entire economic sectors by one lobbyist. This constitutes over-concentration of power in a sensitive area that could endanger decision making in a democracy.”