The New Faces of the Knesset


knessetintWhile in a typical election cycle, Israel can expect about one-third of its 120 Knesset members to be replaced, this time 53 MKs will be new faces. It will feature more journalists, more women, more religiously observant MKs, and more graduates of the social-justice protest movement. The incoming parliament will also have five former generals, including two chiefs of staff.

Thanks to the surprise second place finish of a new party, as well as the success of a new far-right group, the 120-member Knesset will have a record 47 first time lawmakers and a record 26 women, including a West Bank settler mother of 11.

The incoming Knesset will still have five former generals, including two chiefs of staff. In 1992, when ex-chief of staff Yitzhak Rabin was prime minister, there were nine.

Yesh Atid earned a second place finish in Tuesday’s election, giving 19 seats to the party, led by former TV news anchor Yair Lapid, 49.

Yesh Atid’s candidates are an eclectic bunch. They include Shimon Solomon, who came to Israel as a child in the covert Operation Moses airlift that brought thousands of Ethiopian Jews from refugee camps in Africa. He became a major in Israel’s paratroops and a social worker.

Another Yesh Atid legislator, Rabbi Dov Lipman, immigrated from the United States in 2004. He became a deputy mayor in Beit Shemesh.

On the right, 40-year-old Naftali Bennett was widely seen as the main star of a lackluster election campaign, even if his rise has since been eclipsed by that of Lapid. Habayit Hayehudi won 12 seats. One of its new legislators, Orit Struk, is a resident of Chevron and a 52-year-old mother of 11.

{ Israel News Bureau}