Knesset set to walk back number of female MKs

A record five gay Knesset members are expected to be sworn in, along with the first-ever female Druze MK.

April 10, 2019 19:36
2 minute read.
Knesset set to walk back number of female MKs

Gadeer Mreeh, a Druze woman running in former armed forces chief Benny Gantz political party Blue and White. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)


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The 21st Knesset will have significantly fewer female MKs than the outgoing Knesset. While the final votes are still being counted, the next Knesset is expected to contain 29 women. If the soldiers’ votes don’t impact the final makeup, then both the Likud and Blue and White will have 10 female MKs, Labor and Meretz will each have two, while Kulanu, Yisrael Beytenu, the United Right Parties and Hadash-Ta’al and Balad-Ra’am will each have one.

When the 20th Knesset was sworn in, it counted 29 women in its ranks, which was at the time a record. But in the ensuing four years, that figure rose to 35. The electoral success of the haredi parties – 16 seats compared to 13 in the previous parliament – helped keep the amount of female MKs lower this time around.

There are, however, several records that will be broken in the next Knesset, including the number of gay lawmakers. Five gay MKs will be sworn in later this month – one each from Labor and Likud, and three from Blue and White. Likud’s Amir Ohama is returning, as is Labor’s Itzik Shmuly, while Blue and White is bringing Eitan Ginzburg, Idan Roll and Yorai Lahav Hertzanu.

The next Knesset will also have its first ever female Druze MK, Blue and White’s Gadeer Mreeh. It will also see the second-ever haredi female MK, Blue and White’s Omer Yankelevich. There will be two Ethiopian-Israeli MKs, Blue and White’s Penina Tamnu-Shata and Gadi Yavarkan. At the end of the last Knesset’s term, there were three Ethiopian-Israeli MKs.

The only representatives of the Anglophone community in Israel who are expected to make the next Knesset are Canadian-born Sharren Haskel (Likud); new ultra-Orthodox MK Yitzhak Pindrus (UTJ), whose parents are from Boston and Cleveland; and Chili Tropper (Blue and White), whose parents are from NY. Houston-born, Chicago-raised former Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick did not make it into the Knesset.

The upcoming Knesset will have 46 new MKs – up from 39 first-term lawmakers last time around. The average turnover is 28.6% new, which comes out to 34.32 MKs.

Four incoming MKs will be serving their 10th term: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud’s Tzahi Hanegbi, UTJ’s Moshe Gafni and Labor’s Amir Peretz. None of them, however, can compete with Shimon Peres’s record 14 terms in the Knesset.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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