Key parties in incoming Israeli parliament

AP News
Posted: Jan 23, 2013 3:10 PM
Key parties in incoming Israeli parliament

Israel's parliamentary election left the two main blocs deadlocked with 60 seats each, based on nearly complete official vote counts. There could still be some minor changes:


—Likud-Yisrael Beitenu (31 seats): Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud teamed up with the far-right, secular Yisrael Beitenu for the election. Likud is a veteran hawkish party known for opposition to compromise with the Palestinians, though during its long years in power it has moderated its policies. Yisrael Beitenu represents immigrants from the former Soviet Union and takes a hard line on the Palestinian issue. The two parties have not formally merged.

—Jewish Home (11 seats): Representing modern Orthodox Jews, the party surged on the back of a strong pro-settlement message and the appeal of its leader, high-tech millionaire Naftali Bennett, to both Orthodox and secular Israelis.

Shas (11 seats): Represents Orthodox Jews of Middle East origin. Its followers tend to be hawkish, working class, and the party traditionally has been a Likud ally.

—United Torah Judaism (7 seats): The party represents ultra-Orthodox Jews of European ancestry. It has served in both dovish and hawkish governments, focused primarily on obtaining government funds for its religious institutions.


—Yesh Atid (19 seats): Founded by former TV personality Yair Lapid, the new party represents secular, middle-class interests and says less money should be spent on West Bank settlements and stipends for the ultra-Orthodox. Yesh Atid becomes the second-largest party in parliament.

—Labor (15 seats): Led now by former broadcast journalist Shelly Yachimovich, Labor governed the country from its founding in 1948 until 1977 and twice since. This time Labor emphasized domestic issues over its traditional moderate approach toward the Palestinians.

—Israeli Arab parties (12 seats): Three parties represent the interests of Israel's minority Arab citizens. Identifying with the Palestinian cause, they vote consistently against hawkish governments and often support dovish coalitions from the outside.

—Hatnua (6 seats): Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni formed the party less than two months ago to present an alternative to voters distressed by the stalemate in peacemaking during Netanyahu's four-year tenure.

—Meretz (6 seats): Traditional dovish, secular party.

—Kadima (2 seats): Largest party in outgoing parliament, broke apart and appears to have barely made the minimum for seats in the new parliament.