More Academics to Pop Up in Knesset, as Lawyers Disappear From the Ranks

The stable opinion polls allow the creation of a profile of the next Knesset. The next parliament is shaping up to be well-educated: although the outgoing legislators include a surprising 15 doctors, that number is likely to increase to 20, making them 17 percent of the new Knesset. And, although the 16th Knesset doesn't have a single representative of academia, the 17th Knesset will boast four: Ben-Gurion University President Avishay Braverman of the Labor party, and three in Kadima - Interdisciplinary Center President Professor Uriel Reichman, former Hebrew University rector Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson and former Haifa University president Shlomo Breznitz.

There is no guarantee that a professor will make a good member of Knesset, but it is very possible that the high number of academics will raise prestige and who knows, they may even raise budgets for schools, higher education and research.

The number of former generals is likely to jump from 10 to 14, as well as a projected increase in the highest former military brass in the 17th Knesset: with former chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, and two former Shin Bet heads, Avi Dichter in Kadima and Ami Ayalon in Labor. They will join former Mossad chief Danny Yatom. It is impossible to ignore the fact that the next Knesset will miss the number one former general: Ariel Sharon.

Professors and generals seem to be taking the places of lawyers, as the disappearance of Shinui from the political map (10 of this Knesset's 27 lawyers) will contribute to their drop from 27 to 19 parliamentarians with a legal background. In addition, the business sector will disappear from the legislative horizon, without a major business player even on Kadima's list of stars - and not a single startup millionaire will serve in the next Knesset.

This profile won't change much, even if Kadima drops a few seats by the time of the election. After the parties' "An MK is Born" competitions, it was likely that a long line of newly-minted MKs will make it into the next Knesset, and current polls indicate that number will in fact be 38, 23 of whom hail from Kadima. However, that is actually a drop from this legislature's 41 new members. The Likud will not see even one new MK - that's what happens when a party shrinks by 60 percent.

After Zimbabwe

Eighteen women, or just 15 percent of MKs, were sworn in on the first day of the 16th Knesset, still an all-time record. That number has increased to 21 by the end of the term as many MKs resigned in the wake of the "big bang."

The best-case scenario in the next Knesset will be a return to the start of this last term. The question hinges on how many seats Kadima actually gets, with four women slotted between 35 and 40 on that party list, compared to just six in the top 34. Likud has only one woman in its 16 realistic positions (Limor Livnat), with two more bringing up the rear at slots 17 and 18. The Knesset will apparently part from Likud's Gila Gamliel, Inbal Gavrieli, and Naomi Blumenthal. Women expected to serve for the first time include former IDF women's affairs officer Amira Dotan and Shaare Zedek hospital vice president Rachel Adeto-Levy.

A glance a global statistics reveals how embarrassing Israel's situation is in women's representation. Fifteen percent representation earns Israel the 70th slot in a global parliamentary survey, tying with Angola. Ahead of Israel on the list are Rwanda - the first country in the world whose lower house of parliament has 49 percent women, Mozambique in 10th place, Afghanistan in 24th and Zimbabwe in 67.

Two Ashkenazis for every Mizrahi

Hard as it is to believe, the outgoing Knesset saw two members of European origin for every representative of North African descent - 73 to 35. That is not going to change this time, at 72 to 35, despite a decade of equality between Ashkenazi and Mizrahi cabinet ministers. Polls show Likud placing just three North African lawmakers in the body. Kadima will probably lead the pack with 14 seats going to those of North African origin. However, Shas has a knack for getting more votes in the ballot box than in opinion polls, so there may be some improvement.

There were 10 settlers in the present Knesset. Three of the outgoing settler-lawmakers will not make the cut and three new settlers are likely to get in; however, the number of settler-MKs will drop to nine. The lost seat belongs to Zvi Hendel, late of Gush Katif.