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May I throw some light on the Israeli general election, the results of which worried Dr Kevin McCarthy [Letters, 19 March].
The Israeli election results show that a record number of women, far more Arabs, and considerably fewer Orthodox lawmakers will serve in the next Knesset.
- Twenty-eight women will serve in the next Israeli Knesset, compared with 27 in the previous, which was also a record, at that time. The new, joint Arab ticket has two women on it, as does Meretz, the small, left-wing Zionist party, which made it into the Knesset by the skin of its teeth. In the new centre-right Kulanu party, 4 of the 10 representatives who will sit in the next Knesset are women.
- Mainly, but not only, thanks to the strong showing of the new Joint Arab/ Communist List, the new Knesset will see a significant increase in Arab representation. Seventeen Arabs will serve in the 20th Knesset, compared with 12 in the previous. Along with 13 out of the 14 members of the Joint List, there will also be four Arab parliamentarians representing Zionist parties. The new Knesset will have no openly gay members, after Nitzan Horowitz, who served as a Meretz representative in the 18th and 19th Knessets, called it quits. Only nine members of the 20th Knesset live over the ‘green line’, so it’s not full of ‘extremists.’
- Among the parties, the biggest winners in this election were Likud and Kulanu, and the biggest losers were Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beiteinu. Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, whose constituents are mainly Russian-speaking voters, ran on one ticket in the last election, when they won 31 seats.
- In this election, Likud won 30 seats (compared with 20 in the last election) and Yisrael Beiteinu got six (compared with 11 in the last election). Kulanu, with 10 seats, did not exist in the last Knesset. The other centrist party, Yesh Atid, lost eight seats in Tuesday’s election, giving it just 11 this time.
- Because of the increase in the minimum threshold for representation (from 2% to 3.25%), fewer parties got into the new Knesset. Only 10 parties will serve in the 20th Knesset — the lowest number since 1992.
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