PM Orly Levy-Abekasis
Orly Levy -Abekasis was born in Israel in 5734-1973. She is the daughter of former MK and Minister David Levy. She is married, the mother of four and lives in Kibbutz Mesilot. MK Levy-Abekasis holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, and is a media persona by trade.
Levy-Abekasis was first elected to the 18th Knesset one behalf of the Yisrael Beitenu party, and served as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and Chair of the Special Committee for the Rights of the Child, a position she held in the 19th Knesset as well. Levy-Abekasis also chaired the Lobby for Children and Youth at Risk and the Lobby for Public Housing. She was member of other committees and lobbies as well.
As Chair of the Committee for the Rights of the Child, MK Levy-Abekasis was known for delving into the issues at hand, as part of the discourse with professionals from various government ministries who participated in the Committee’s meetings with the purpose of providing solutions to problems and questions raised during the hearings. In the framework of the Committee’s hearings, Levy-Abekasis spearheaded the handling of crucial issues related to children and youth in Israel, e.g. diagnoses in school, the rights of working youth and provision of health services to pupils in regular elementary schools and in special education. She also focused a great deal of attention on at-risk children and protection afforded to these children by authorities.
In the 18th Knesset, Levy-Abekasis legislated a law which converted the telephone call center to provide assistance for victims of sexual assault and harassment (1202) into a free and confidential emergency hotline. For her work in the 18th Knesset, and due to her legislative work in a range of areas, particularly those near and dear to her heart – children’s rights, public housing, gender equality, suitable treatment of sex offenses and a series of other issues in welfare, health and education – Levy-Abekasis received the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award for 2012.
In the 19th Knesset, Levy-Abekasis chaired the Special Committee for the Rights of the Child. She also served as chair of the Lobby for Public Housing, the Lobby for Children and Youth at Risk and the Lobby for Encouraging Task-Oriented Communities and Groups. She also headed the Israel-Italy and Israel-Malta Parliamentary Friendship Groups, positions that she continues to fill in the 20th Knesset.
In the 19th Knesset, Levy-Abekasis initiated a law to rehabilitate, advance and integrate people with autism in the community. The law aims to regulate the rights of individuals with autism and their families. In the 20th Knesset, she sought to promote a new version of the law. Furthermore, alongside MKs from the Labor Party, Levy-Abekasis initiated a draft law to improve the rights of renters. During the 20th Knesset, MK Levy-Abekasis advanced a law on rights of tenants in public housing that defined the obligations of companies housing the tenants. In hearings on the state budget, she revealed the cancellation of grants to residents who relocate to the periphery and cancellation of the budget for the neighborhood rehabilitation project. Due to her disclosure, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health retracted the cancellation of these budgets, and the budget for the neighborhood rehabilitation project may even increase in 2017.
For her activity as legislator, Levy-Abekasis won the Knight of Good Government award in 2015.
In May 2016, during negotiations between Yisrael Beitenu and Likud, Levy-Abekasis announced her resignation from the Yisrael Beitenu party due to the lack of inclusion of socioeconomic issues in the party’s main demands during negotiations.
Ever since, she operated as an independent MK, and continued to participate in Knesset committee meetings, including the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, the Finance Committee, and others.
Levy-Abekasis continued to work in the 20th Knesset for disadvantaged populations in Israel: homeless, the poor, people with disabilities, children, victims of sex crimes, residents of the periphery, etc. As chair of the Lobby for the Advancement of Fair Rental and Public Housing, she also focused on the housing crisis by introducing draft laws, such as the draft law on mortgage guarantees (amendment – government guarantee for single apartments) and using other parliamentary tools. As part of her parliamentary duties, Levy-Abekasis spearheaded commemoration of World Prematurity Day and promoted the issue of premature infants in the Knesset, even managing to help many neonatal intensive care units in hospitals across the country that suffered from a lack of budget for many years.