On the cusp

Meet the legislators who might make it to Knesset in next week's election.

Miri Regev AJ 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozlimski)
Miri Regev AJ 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozlimski)
Just a few weeks ago, many of them were certain that they had no chance of entering the 18th Knesset. Some remained anonymous throughout the elections campaign. But now several people on the lists of the four largest political parties have pretty good chances to call themselves Knesset Members as of next Wednesday. The Jerusalem Post calculated the number of mandates each party "earned" in the polls that were published on Wednesday and Thursday and found the average number of Knesset seats each party was anticipated to win. Below are portraits of the people in the three slots before that average and the three slots after it. Likud No. 24: Dani Danon Danon, 38, started his political activity as a teenager in a Beitar branch in Ramat Gan, served as a young emissary of the Jewish Agency in Miami in the 1990s and was elected chairman of the World Likud Movement. Danon received his BA in international relations and MA in public policy and government from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He served as the personal assistant of MK Uzi Landau in the 14th Knesset, as chairman of the World Beitar Movement for a few years, and won the 23rd slot on Likud's 15th Knesset list but did not make it to the parliament. No. 25: Carmel Shama Shama, a lawyer from Ramat Gan and a member of the city council who won an excellence award for promoting green and environment-oriented matters, won Likud's young candidate slot. In his Knesset work he plans to carry the green flag, to fight corruption and to promote transparency. No. 26: Ophir Akunis Akunis, 35, formerly served as media adviser for Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu. He was born in Tel Aviv and lives there with his wife Adi and two children. Akunis earned his bachelor's degree in international relations and political science from the Hebrew University. During 16 years of membership in Likud, he has served as a spokesman and adviser. No. 27: Miri Regev Regev, 44, served as IDF spokeswoman during the disengagement from Gaza in 2005 and during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and as the former military censor from 2004 to 2005. The married mother of three children was born in Kiryat Gat and lives in Rosh Ha'ayin. Her bachelor's degree is in informal education and international relations and her master's degree is in business administration. No. 28: Aleli Admasu Admasu, 47, is the father of five who was born in a village in Ethiopia. He made aliya in 1983, served in the army and settled down in Rishon Lezion. Admasu has a master's degree in public policy from Tel Aviv University and has spent the past 14 years working for the Immigration and Absorption Ministry, assisting Ethiopian immigrants in fitting in. No. 29: Yitzhak Denino Denino, 43, is the father of two from Ofakim, where he is a member of the city council and he is chairman of the association of the elderly. He also works as director of a geriatric hospital in Beersheba. No. 30: David Even Tzur Even Tzur, 50, is married with two children. He was deputy director-general in Hameshakem, a subsidiary of the World Zionist Organization and the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry that assists disabled and elderly in employment, until a month ago, and now is preparing to be elected. Kadima No. 20: Robert Tibayev The father of two has been a resident of Ofakim for the past 14 years, since making aliya from Russia. Tibayev, who has a master's degree in electrical engineering, is a project manager for the Synergy Company. He also serves as a member of the Ofakim city council and as chairman of Techiyah Fund for bringing Jews of the former Soviet Union to Israel. No. 21: MK Majallie Whbee Whbee, 55, is currently the deputy foreign minister. Whbee was born and lives in Beit Jan. He is married and has four children. His holds a BA in the history of Islam is from the Hebrew University and an MA in the history of the Middle East from the University of Haifa. Whbee is a Druse, and became the first Druse director-general of a governmental office. He speaks Arabic, Hebrew, English, French and Turkish. No. 22: Dr. Rachel Adato Adato is a physician and the mother of two. She was born in Haifa and lives in Mevaseret Zion near Jerusalem. Adato studied medicine in the Hebrew University, where she also received an MBA and studied law. Adato is a member of the Mevaseret Zion local council and has served as chairman of the National Women's Health Association since 1999. No. 23: MK Yohanan Plessner Plessner, 35, was born in Jerusalem and lives in Hod Hasharon with his wife and two daughters. In June 2006, Plessner was appointed director-general of Kadima by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Since then he has been busy establishing Kadima's institutions and headquarters across the county. Prior to that, Plessner served as a project manager in former prime minister Ariel Sharon's office. He excelled in his studies for a bachelor's degree in economics in the Hebrew University and completed his MA in political economy and security studies at the Harvard School of Government. No. 24: MK Shai Hermesh Hermesh, 65, was born in Tel Aviv, but he lives in in Kibbutz Kfar Aza with his wife. They have three sons. Hermesh, who has a BA in economics and sociology and an MA in business administration from the Hebrew University, served as the head of the Sha'ar Hanegev local council and as the chairman of the board of the Negev College, now known as Sapir College. In 2002, Hermesh was appointed treasurer of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization. He joined Kadima when it was established and became a member of the 17th Knesset. No. 25: MK Israel Hasson Hasson, who was born in Syria and made aliya on foot with his family via Turkey when he was seven years old, served as an MK with Israel Beiteinu in the 17th Knesset. Hasson had served for 23 years in the Shin Bet, where he was considered one of the most successful recruiters of agents. Over the years he developed close ties with the Arab world and was sent by prime ministers on special, secret meetings with leading Arab figures. He is married, the father of four and a resident of Tivon. No. 26: Arieh Bibi Bibi, 66, was born in Baghdad and made aliya with his family at the age of eight. He served as commissioner of the Israel Prisons Service from 1993 to 1997. Bibi started his military service in the Paratroopers Brigade, later serving as commander of the Gaza Strip. After his military service he joined the Israel Police and served as commander of Jerusalem and Yarkon Districts, and and afterward as chairman of the Anti-Drug Authority. Bibi is also the father of Moshik Bibi, the director of Kadima faction in the Knesset. Labor No. 13: MK Orit Noked Noked, 57, is a lawyer who worked both in the private sector and as a legal adviser for the United Kibbutz Movement, as board member of the KKL directorate and in other positions. The mother of three is a member of Kibbutz Shefayim. She entered the Knesset first in the 15th Knesset following the resignation of MK Shlomo Ben Ami. later on she served as an MK in the 16th and the 17th Knessets as a representative of the kibbutzim. No. 14: Dr. Einat Wilf Wilf, 38, was born and raised in Jerusalem but now lives with her family in Tel Aviv. Wilf served as a political adviser to former deputy prime minister Shimon Peres from 2002 to 2006. She was appointed strategic adviser in the international consulting company McKinsey and a co-director in Koor Industries venture capital fund. An expert in policy and strategy, she has written two books and gives lectures in Israel and abroad. No. 15: MK Ghaleb Majadle Majadle, 56, is currently minister of science, culture and sports. Majadle, the first Arab minister in an Israeli government, was born in Baka al-Gharbiya, where the married father of four still lives. Majadle started out as the general secretary of the Working and Studying Youth in Baka al-Gharbiya and as the secretary of the local Labor council. He later headed the education department in the Histadrut and was a member of the Lobby for Druse and Circassians. He served in part of the 16th Knesset and for the full term of the 17th Knesset. No. 16: MK Shakib Shanan Shanan, 49, lives in Hurfeish. He entered the 17th Knesset in May 2008, when Efraim Sneh quit the party and the Knesset. Shanan has a BA in oriental, general, and pre-law studies from Tel Aviv University. He served as a combat soldier in the IDF. Among the public positions he has filled are district supervisor for administration in the Welfare Ministry, chief adviser to the interior minister, and teacher and acting principal of the Hurfeish high school. No. 17: MK Yoram Marciano Marciano, 45, served as the mayor of Lod, where he lives with his wife and two children. His parliamentary career began in the 17th Knesset, where he served as a member of several committees. No. 18: MK Leon Litinetsky Litinetsky, 41, was born in Russia and made aliya in 1991. He lives in Kfar Saba with his wife and child. Litinetsky was born to a family of doctors and became one himself. He served as a delegate in the World Zionist Congress and was one of the founders of the Shomer Israel cooperative society. He served in several positions in organizations and departments for immigrants in Israel. He entered the 17th Knesset in July 2008. No. 19: MK Colette Avital Avital, 68, was born in Romania and made aliya at the age of 10. She lives in Jerusalem. Avital has a BA in political science and an MA in public administration from the Hebrew University. She speaks Romanian, Hebrew, English, French, German, Portuguese and Italian. Avital served a full diplomatic career and was appointed envoy of the Foreign Ministry several times, beginning in the early 1980s. Avital began her political career in 1999 and entered the 15th Knesset. Israel Beiteinu No. 14: MK Lia Shemtov Shemtov, 51, was born in Ukraine and made aliya in 1980. She is married, the mother of two and lives in Upper Nazareth, where she served as a member of city council and deputy mayor in Upper Nazareth. Shemtov was elected to the 17th Knesset and headed the lobbies for the disabled and for the rights of temporary workers. No. 15: MK Alex Miller Miller, 31, was born in Moscow and made aliya in 1992. He is married, has one child and lives in Ariel. He has a BA in pedagogy and an MA in public policy from Tel Aviv University. Miller is the head of the Young Guard of Israel Beiteinu. He was elected to the 17th Knesset and was a member in several parliamentary committees. No. 16: Yitzhak Slavin Slavin, 52, is married with two children. He holds a BA in social work from Bar-Ilan University. He served as a social worker in Kiryat Gat, his city of residency, and was in charge of the city's project for rehabilitating neighborhoods. He was emissary to Italy for the JDC. No. 17: Smadar Bat-Adam Bat-Adam, 56, is an author and a journalist who has served as media adviser for Uzi Landau. She has been active in several organizations advocating for adoption and children at risk. The married mother of four has a BA in social sciences. No. 18: Yulia Melinovsky Melinovsky, 33, was born in Ukraine and made aliya at the age of 22. She has a BA in law from the National University of Ukraine. Melinovsky served a treasurer of the Bat-Yam-Holon Cities Union and has served as a member of the Holon city council. In the past year she has established Israel Beiteinu's spokesmanship team. No. 19: Arkadi Pumerantz Pumerantz, 39, was born in Azerbaijan and made aliya in 1990. He is married and has two children. He studied practical engineering and holds a BA in business administration form the University of Derby in Israel. He joined Israel Beiteinu in 1999, serving as chairman of the party in Ma'alot, and has worked for Israel Railways since 1995. No. 20: Matan Weiss Weiss, 26, was born in Leningrad and made aliya in 1995. He is married and lives in Rehovot. Weiss is about to complete his studies for bachelor's degree in business administration through the Open University. He was one of the founders of the Forum of Young Zionists and is active in the Reserve Soldiers Forum. He joined Israel Beiteinu seven years ago.