Israel Elections: Only 21% of 2009 Knesset still in politics - study

The data presented by the IDI represents an abnormally high turnover rate in the Israeli political system.

The exterior of the Knesset is seen in Jerusalem on January 7, 2021. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The exterior of the Knesset is seen in Jerusalem on January 7, 2021.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Only 25 out of the 120 members of the 18th Knesset, elected in 2009, remain in politics 12 years after the fact, according to Prof. Ofer Kenig, a senior lecturer in Ashkelon Academic College and a research fellow in the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI).
The data presented by the IDI represents a high turnover rate in the Israeli political system.
Within some parties, MKs falling off the map is much more evident than in others. The Labor Party, for example, will not have even one of the 13 MKs who represented their party in the 18th Knesset on the list for the 24th Knesset – to be elected in March.
Some politicians, who entered their political careers after 2009, have already managed to retire. Former MKs such as Stav Shaffir, Shai Piron, Avi Gabay, Aliza Lavie, Erel Margalit and Roi Folkman are examples of MKs that have managed to both enter and leave politics since 2009. Israel has also seen Gabi Ashkenazi, Avi Nissenkorn, Itzik Shmuli, Miki Haimovich, Ofer Shelach and others look for a way out of serving in the next Knesset.
Kenig asked the question if "large" turnover is good or bad.
"On the one hand, politics needs a refreshing update from time to time... a reasonable level of exchange of personalities is good and healthy," Kenig said, according to an IDI release. "On the other hand, when there is such an extreme amount of turnover, it may harm the work of the Knesset in terms of continuity, specialization and experience."
By seniority, there are only three MKs left from the class of 1988: Moshe Gafni, Tzachi Hanegbi and Benjamin Netanyahu. Benny Begin, who was a member of that class, has the possibility of rejoining the Knesset. Beyond that, the most experienced sitting MK is Aryeh Deri, who was elected in 1992.
According to Kenig, this trend shares both positive and negative consequences.
"On the one hand, a robust political system should be refreshed with fresh forces that are full of energy, highly motivated and full of new ideas. In this respect, a reasonable level of change in personnel is healthy for the system," Kenig explained.
"On the other hand, an abnormally high level of turnover can also be a symptom of a 'sick' system: one in which parties emerge and disappear at a rapid pace, where public trust is lacking and where the status of individual politicians is low," the IDI added.
"It should also be understood that such a high turnover could harm the workings of the Knesset. Parliamentary work is a complex matter that requires specialization and experience. Without continuity and accumulation of seniority, the quality of Knesset work may be harmed."