Along with the decline on the right and the rise of the center, the results of Tuesday’s election were notable for the relatively high number of veteran Knesset members swept out of their jobs, and their replacement by new MKs with little or no national political experience.
About 52 or 53 MKs out of the 120 will be leaving, depending on the final vote count; that’s believed to be an unprecedented number; the average turnover after the last several elections has been around 40 seats. And almost 50 members of the new Knesset will never have sat in parliament before.
The biggest victim of change is Kadima, which had 28 seats in the last Knesset and now is down to only two MKs, Shaul Mofaz and Yisrael Hasson.
While the vast majority of Kadima members are now out of a job, Meir Sheetrit managed to survive by jumping ship to Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party, as did Nachman Shai to Labor and Tzachi Hanegbi to Likud.
The combined Likud-Beytenu list saw heavy winds of change too — due to its worse-than-expected showing of 31 seats (down from 42) and purges during both parties’ primaries leading up to the general election.
Thus, Likud lost such veterans as Benny Begin, Michael Eitan, Dan Meridor and Ayoub Kara, along with Moshe Kahlon, who retired before the election (but may return as head of the Israel Land Administration). Yisrael Beytenu divested itself of figures such as Stas Misezhnikov, Danny Ayalon, Anastasia Michaeli, Moshe Matalon and Lia Shemtov.
Ehud Barak’s five-member Labor-breakaway Independence faction has disappeared.
Similarly, Otzma Leyisrael, which outgoing National Union MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari formed as a breakaway rather than join Jewish Home, narrowly failed to clear the Knesset’s 2% threshold. The same goes for Haim Amsalem’s Am Shalem party, a Shas breakaway.
The party bringing the most new MKs is also the big story of the election: Yesh Atid. Party leader Yair Lapid has never held elected office, and none of those on his list of 19 new MKs has sat in the parliament. The slate does include two mayors and a few city council members.
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett will be a first-time MK, as will seven members of its list, such as Ayelet Shaked and Orit Struk. The party did retain experienced MKs such as Uri Ariel and Uri Orbach.
Labor brought in several new faces, including television personality Merav Michaeli and social protest leader Stav Shaffir, who at 27 will be one of the youngest MKs ever. They join experienced MKs such as party leader Shelly Yachimovich, Isaac Herzog, and the veteran of all veterans Benjamin Ben-Eliezer.
Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua is something of an exception, being a new party with veteran politicians. Besides Livni, a former foreign minister and MK for Kadima and Likud, Hatnua brings to the Knesset Amnon Mitzna and ex-defense minister Amir Peretz, both former Labor heads, along with Sheetrit.
Livni did attract retired IDF Gen. Elazar Stern to her party, and he will be one of the 48 MKs entering the legislature for the first time.