The 19th Knesset will have a record number of female and religious MKs, while
the parties’ sizes may change by Thursday, when “double envelope” votes are
Fifty of the next Knesset’s members will be first-time
lawmakers. Yesh Atid’s entire list is comprised of newcomers to politics, and
only three out of Bayit Yehudi’s expected 11 MKs served in the Knesset in the
Likud, Labor, Meretz and The Tzipi Livni Party brought new faces,
as did Balad and United Arab List-Ta’al, as well as Strong Israel, if it passes
the election threshold.
The incoming Knesset will have 26 women, five
more than the previous record-setting one.
Dr. Ofer Kenig of the Israeli
Democracy Institute reviewed women in the Knesset throughout history, pointing
out that the first Knesset had 11 female members, and in 1988, only seven women
were voted into the Knesset, the lowest number since the state’s
Merav Michaeli, an incoming Labor MK and feminist
activist, was unimpressed by the number of women in the new
“Wow, what do you say, 26 out of 120? As in, 26 women and 94
men?” she asked rhetorically.
“Israel is the 70th out of 138 countries
with female representatives in parliament,” she stated.
that one of her goals in the Knesset is to change the situation and bring
equality to women, and stated that the number of female MKs shows how far away
Three parties – Labor, The Tzipi Livni Party and Meretz
– have female leaders. Likud (without Yisrael Beytenu), Labor, Bayit Yehudi and
Meretz set quotas and saved slots for representation of women in their
primaries, while Yesh Atid’s appointed list is 40 percent female.
same time, parties such as Shas and United Torah Judaism do not allow women to
run, and UALTa’al and Hadash did not have any in realistic slots.
addition, nearly a third of the 19th Knesset members will be religious – either
national-religious or haredi – with 11 from Shas, 10 from Bayit Yehudi, seven
from UTJ, six from Likud Beytenu, three from Yesh Atid and one in The Tzipi
As Judy Mozes Nir Shalom, a radio host and wife of Vice
Premier Silvan Shalom, pointed out on Wednesday, there are only expected to be
30 MKs of Sephardic decent – one-fourth of the Knesset – even though Sephardim
make up 51% of the population.
There will only be one Druse MK in the
19th Knesset – Yisrael Beytenu’s Hamed Amer, who is 28th on the joint list with
Likud – as opposed to six in the 18th.
The votes of 200,000 soldiers,
plus those of prisoners and people in hospitals, will be counted a day later
than regular votes, and could be worth six or seven seats in the
These ballots are called “double envelope votes,” because many
of them are listed in their army base or hospital, as well as in their home
town, and it takes longer to count them, because the Central Elections Committee
must check to make sure they did not vote twice.
received five spots in the next Knesset after 99% of votes were counted, is
expected to lose a seat from the double envelope votes, because they are
unlikely to receive many votes from soldiers.
particularly UTJ, are expected to lose a seat or two for the same
At the same time, Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid are considered to be
popular with young voters and could gain a seat or more from soldiers.
the uncounted votes cause Kadima to pass the 2% election threshold, it could
push the next coalition from narrow to more comfortable for Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu, but the result will only be known on Thursday.
is led by MK Shaul Mofaz, a former IDF chief of staff. The party’s campaign
focused on security issues and raising soldiers’ compensation from the
government to equal that of yeshiva students.
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