Departing Lawmakers Bid Farewell, Some Vow to Return

Outgoing members of Knesset can be divided into three types: those who have had enough and have new plans for the future; those who were ousted against their will and but have come to terms with it, and those who are on their way out but still hope to find their way back. Of the current 120 lawmakers, 80 will return in the next Knesset.

Meretz MK Ran Cohen is of the first kind. He willingly stepped down and seems to have a busy schedule planned out. "I've agreed to be the head of the Halon organization," Cohen said.

Halon helps children with learning disabilities. Cohen will also lecture students at two universities, be a member of the Israel-Asia commerce committee and, of course, write an autobiography. He has already published a book on his parliamentary work but his new one will focus on his childhood. "Escape From Baghdad," is the temporary title he has chosen for it.

Many of the outgoing MKs are members of either the Pensioners Party or the National Union.

Polls show the Pensioners Party hovering around the minimum number of votes required to enter the Knesset. MK Moshe Sharoni, one of the party's most prominent members, says he has a lot of work cut out for him. "I'm the chairman of the Haifa municipality's pensioners union, that's more than enough work," Sharoni said.

The National Union had nine seats but it split into two factions that polls predict will garner six seats combined. National Union's MK Yitzhak Levy, the former education minister, says he will devote himself to teaching.

Kadima and Labor also have a large number of lawmakers on their way out of Knesset. Likud, however, which is leading in the polls, expects every one of its lawmakers to be reelected this year.

MK Menachem Ben-Sasson of Kadima, formerly the rector of the Hebrew University, will go back to teaching. His name has even been brought up as a candidate for the university's presidency. On the flipside, MK Abraham Hirchson, the former finance minister, is currently being tried for fraud.

In one party, lawmakers who until recently seemed to be on their way out may have latched on to a new lifeline. Yisrael Beiteinu is so popular in the polls that even MKs Lia Shemtov and Alex Miller, dropped to the lowly 14th and 15th places on the party's list, may yet return.