Who is who in Israeli politics?

I guess most of you have heard that there was parliamentary elections in Israel two weeks ago. Since Israel is one of the most debated countries in the world I thought I would help to figure out who is who in Israeli politics. Here is a quick guide to the different political parties:

Likud Unification” — A right of center party which is currently leading the government. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanhayu, Likud represents conservative middle-class citizens.

Yesh Atid  “There is A Future” — A new party headed by an Israeli journalist named Yair Lapid, who many says is an upcoming political star. He was also voted for being the sexiest man in Israel. Yesh Atid is now the second largest party with 19 seats in Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

HaAvoda  “Labor”– Israel’s Labor party. Until 1977, all Israeli Prime Ministers were affiliated with the Labor movement, but lately the party have had troubles finding a clear path in their politics. HaAvoda is the only party in Israel led by a woman: Shelly Yachimovich. She is the second woman to hold that position after Golda Meir.

Israel Beitenu  “Israel is our Home” — An extreme right-wing party. The voters of this party belong to a large extent to the Russians speaking community in Israel and it is led by Avigdor Lieberman, the current Foreign Minister of Israel.

Hatnua “The Movement” — This party is led by former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and is composed of leaders from Labour and Likud that lost in their primaries. They won 6 seats in Knesset.

Habait Hayehudi  “The Jewish Home” — An extreme right-wing party with an ecological agenda – weird, I know! The party is led by Naftali Bennet, also a new star in the Israeli politics. The party is against the two state solution and will do everything in their power to block a Palestinian statehood.

Hadash  “New“, also known as “The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality” — A left-wing party that supports the complete withdrawal of Israel from all occupied territories. Their main supporters are the Israeli-Arabs.

Balad “Country”, also known as ”National Democratic Assembly” — A left-wing party, almost the same as Hadash. Balad’s most famous member is Hanin Zoabi, an Israeli MK who took part in the Gaza flotilla. She was on the Mavi Marmara ship and was onboard when Israeli navy seals boarded the ship.

Shas  “Orders” — An extremists party representing ultra-orthodox Jews. Their agenda is to restore former glory, return to biblical times and hallelujah moment. It breaks my heart to inform you that they got 12 seats in the parliament.

Kadima Forward” — A centrist party that used to be the largest one in the parliament, and the leader of the opposition. Kadima made so many mistakes over the past years that (almost) all its members left. From being the biggest party in parliament it is now the smallest one, with only two seats.

After this quick guide, you know a little bit about who is who in the myriad of political parties in Israel. I must say Israeli politics are so interesting as it seems as there is a party for every imaginable problem. Actually it seems so easy to start a new party in Israel, that for the next election I think I am going to starting a new party for peace – who is with me?

Text: Yacob Rajes