The assumption that the Green Party would be the trendy pick of the elections turned out to be wrong. Even if one counted the votes of all the green parties together, including the votes of Meimad, they still received half of the minimum needed to enter the Knesset. Perhaps this was because Hadash reached out environmentally. Dov Khenin, a trend in himself, brought the party an additional Knesset seat. What was the hot voting trend? Avigdor Lieberman. Not trendy, maybe, but a leader.
If the previous Knesset belonged to the Pensioners, this Knesset belongs to the youth. No less than 18 MKs are between the ages of 30 and 39. Two factors explain this: Likud mushroomed from 12 seats to 27, enabling a large group of young lawmakers to make it, and Lieberman included anyone he wanted on Yisrael Beiteinu's list. It will be interesting to see if the large youth contingent will result in addressing issues that preoccupy young singles (insane rental prices, high university tuition, a shortage of places where young people can spend leisure time) and young families (mortgages, tax credits for child care, maternity leave).
This Knesset scores a record number of women parliamentarians, or 21 (17.5 percent). Still, this statistic can be viewed differently; the 33 MKs from the religious and Arab parties include only one woman (Hanin Zuabi of Balad). As for the other parties, there are 20 women out of a total of 77 lawmakers, slightly more than one-fourth.
The most extremist member of the outgoing Knesset, Nissim Ze'ev (Shas), is expected to face tough competition for the title, with the winner presumably coming not from Yisrael Beiteinu but from the National Union. With four Knesset seats, the faction will include a representative of followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane, Dr. Michael Ben Ari. Lieberman's attitude to Arabs can be considered gentle compared to Ben Ari's. You will yet hear from him.
Our true face?
Extreme right-wing parties comprise close to 20 percent of this Knesset. How big can such a share of the political spectrum be before it is no longer considered extreme - and we finally understand that these parties represent our true face?
After Shinui disappeared from the Knesset, there was nobody left to fight on issues of religion and state. Does this mean that after the Pensioners disappear, there will no one to battle for old-age stipends? The previous elections centered around a social agenda with Labor, Shas, and the Pensioners perhaps forming a "pensioners bloc" of 38 MKs. Who will represent the weaker sectors in the 18th Knesset? Did we mention Dov Khenin? Or perhaps Amir Peretz will go back to dealing with social issues.
One of the characteristics of the previous Knesset was the large number of professors, including four rectors and university presidents. The professors have been replaced by nine members of the media. No doubt, this Knesset will include plenty of lawmakers who speak in catchy sound bites. Notably, the media professionals include three commentators, two presenters, who were also models, a panelist from a screaming TV show, a foreign news desk editor and just one reporter who really made a habit of traveling around the country, Daniel Ben-Simon.
Usually it is the right that complains about the "judicialization" of politics; yet the party bringing a squad of lawyers to the Knesset is none other than Likud. No less than 11 members of its faction have legal training as an educational background. In Kadima, four of the top five members are law graduates, though there is a shortage further down the list.
There will be 26 law graduates in this Knesset (including Dov Khenin). Does the High Court of Justice require additional guidelines as preparation for the wave of appeals?
Yes, these four - Zahava Gal-On (Meretz), Michael Melchior (Meimad), Menachem Ben-Sasson (Kadima) and Esterina Tartman (Yisrael Beiteinu) have something in common. All of them (including Tartman) are excellent lawmakers who went home. No good deed goes unpunished, and in this country they will forgive you anything except doing your job the way it is supposed to be done.
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