Israeli Elections 2013 Parties Running for Office




            Parties competing in  the 2013 Elections

Source: Israel Embassy, 1-3-13

34 parties are competing in the upcoming Israeli national election that will be held on Tuesday, January 22, 2013.
The Knesset, the Israeli parliament, is elected directly by the voters, not through a body of electors. Elections to the Knesset are based on a vote for a party rather than for individuals, and the entire country constitutes a single electoral constituency.
The 120 Knesset seats are assigned in proportion to each party’s percentage of the total national vote. However, the minimum required for a party to win a Knesset seat is 2% of the total votes cast.​

​​Likud Beytenu

Leader: Benjamin Netanyahu
MKs in current Knesset: 42 (HaLikud 27 + Yisrael Beytenu 17)
Number of mandates in recent polls: 33-42
Quick Background / Platform: 
Likud Beytenu is a formation of two parties running together in the upcoming elections:  HaLikud and Yisrael Beytenu. HaLikud, officially formed in 1973, first came to power under Menachem Begin’s leadership in 1977 and has been in government for 26 of the last 35 years. Halikud is currently the biggest party in the Knesset and is considered to be a center right party in regards to security and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Yisrael Beytenu is a right wing party founded and headed by Avigdor Lieberman, until recently the Foreign Minister of Israel. The party stresses nationalistic issues such as a “loyalty pledge” for Israeli Arab citizens and mainly attracts Israelis who emigrated from the former Soviet Union.
Yisrael Beytenu website:​
Benjamin Netanyahu, Leader of the Likud Party.
Avoda (Labor)​
Leader: Shelli Yehimovitch
MKs in current Knesset: 13
Number of mandates in recent polls: 16-24
Quick Background / Platform: For nearly fifty years, the Labor party was either the controlling party or the major opposition party. In the last decade the party has weakened and today, under the leadership of former journalist Shelli Yehimovitch, is trying to regain its status as a major political force in the Israeli parliament.
This election cycle the labor party is focusing mainly on economic and social issues, while trying to attract a large pool of voters from all parts of the political electorate. The party is downplaying its traditionally leftist stance on the Israeli-Palestine conflict and peace process.
Shelli Yehimovitch, Leader of the Labor Party.

Habayit HaYehudi (The Jewish Home)
Leader: Naftali Bennett
MKs in current Knesset: 3
Number of mandates in recent polls: 10-15
Quick Background / Platform: a new version of the National Religious Party Mafdal, Habayit HaYehudi is a right wing party focused on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The party denounces a two state solution and supports a tough stance both against the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. The party is led by Naftali Bennett, a former special forces officer and chief of staff for PM Netanyahu.
Naftaly Bennet.jpg
Naftali Bennett, Leader of HaBayit HaYehudi.

HaTnuah (The Movement)
Leader: Tzipi Livni
MKs in current Knesset: 0 (First time running)
Number of mandates in recent polls: 7-11
Quick Background / Platform: Hatnuah was founded by Tzipi Livni, who served in several ministerial positions such as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Justice. HaTnuah focuses on  the Israeli Palestinian conflict and presents itself as an alternative to Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud party. HaTnuah supports a return to the peace process with the Palestinians and a two state solution.
Tzipi Livni’s Facebook Page:​
Tzipi Livni (Left), Leader of HaTnuah with Amir Peretz, a candidate running
with the Party.

Yesh Atid (There is a Future)
Leader: Yair Lapid
MKs in current Knesset: 0 (First time running)
Number of mandates in recent polls: 6-12
Quick Background / Platform: The party was founded recently by Popular media personality Yair Lapid and portrays itself as a centrist middle class party, trying to attract a large share of the Israeli voters that are disappointed with the current political parties.The party supports a two-state solution, a reform to the electoral system and national or military service for all Israelis, including Haredi Jews.
Yair Lapid.jpg
Yair Lapid, Leader of Yesh Atid.
Leaders: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Spiritual Leader), Eli Yishai, Aryeh Deri, Ariel Atias (Political Leaders)
MKs in current Knesset: 10
Number of mandates in recent polls: 8-13
Quick Background / Platform: Shas is a religious party that represents the Haredi- Sephardic  and Masorti constituencies. On security issues, while considered officially a right-wing party, it is in fact a centrist. The party focuses on securing funding for its religious institutions, promoting social benefits for its core constituencies, and maintaining the status quo between religion and state in Israel.
Shas Leaders.jpg
The Three Political Leaders of Shas  Eli Yishai (Right), Aryeh Deri (Center),
and Ariel Atias.

Yahadut Hatorah
Leaders: The party has no established hierarchy and its MKs represent the senior rabbis of the Haredi-Ashkenazi factions in Israel.
MKs in current Knesset: 5
Number of mandates in recent polls: 6
Quick Background / Platform: Yahadut Hatorah (United Torah Judaism) represents the various Haredi-Ashkenazi factions in the Knesset. The party does not hold an official position on security issues and focuses mainly on securing funding for Haredi institutions and opposing any change in the relations between state and religion and any threat to Haredi autonomy regarding education and religious institutions.
Leader: Zahava Gal-On
MKs in current Knesset: 3
Number of mandates in recent polls: 3-6
Quick Background / Platform: Meretz is a secular liberal party from the political left. The party promotes a two states solution, and is a major proponent of environmental laws and of social economic policy.
Zahava Galon, Leader of Meretz.

Ra’am Ta’al
Leaders: Ibrahim Sarsur, Ahmed Tibi
MKs in current Knesset: 4
Number of mandates in recent polls: 4-5
Quick Background / Platform: Ra’am Ta’al is a party attracting mainly the Arab citizens of Israel and is comprised of two movements: Ra’am (United Arab List) is a religious party representing the Islamic movement in Israel. Ta’al (Arab Movement for Renewal), focuses on the Israeli Palestinian peace process and on promoting the rights of Arab – Israelis in Israeli society.
Leader: Mohammed Barakeh
MKs in current Knesset: 4
Number of mandates in recent polls: 4
Quick Background / Platform: Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) is a communist party that promotes social economic policies, and an establishment of a Palestinian state on the territories Israel captured in 1967. The party attracts mainly the Arab-Israeli voters.
Leader: Jamal Zahalka
MKs in current Knesset: 3
Number of mandates in recent polls: 3
Quick Background / Platform: Balad (National Democratic Alliance) is a secular Arab party that supports eliminating Israel’s defining character as a Jewish state, and promotes Palestinian nationalism among the Arab citizens of Israel. The party also supports the withdrawal of Israel from the territories captured in 1967.
Kadima (Forward)
Leader: Shaul Mofaz
MKs in current Knesset: 28
Number of mandates in recent polls: 0-2
Quick Background / Platform: Founded by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2005 as a popular party in the center of the political map, Kadima served as the ruling party under former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2006-2009 and as the major opposition party under Tzipi Livni in 2009 – 2012.
The party’s current leader, former Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz offers himself as an alternative to PM Netanyahu, supports a two states solution with the Palestinians, and promotes a civilian agenda stressing the need to recruit Haredi Jews to the Israeli Military.
Kadima’s Facebook Page:
Shaul Mofaz, Leader of Kadima.

Note: Several parties that are running for office and are not mentioned above have a slight chance of reaching the minimal electoral threshold. These include The Green Party, Otzma LeYisrael and Am Shalem.
More on the upcoming elections in Israel:

> Election Day in Israeli Embassies around the World​

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