Yair Lapid’s neophyte Yesh Atid party shocked the country with its strong showing in Tuesday’s general election. But although Lapid is a well-known personality, those composing his party’s list are much less so. A crew of 19 diverse Knesset members, half of whom are women and none of whom have served in Knesset, Yesh Atid’s faction is poised to wield powerful influence:
1. Yair Lapid, 49, was a celebrity journalist and author before forming Yesh Atid in January 2012. A household name in Israel, Lapid is the son of Tommy Lapid — a former MK, cabinet minister and head of the now-defunct Shinui (Change) party, a centrist faction and an ideological precursor of sorts to Yesh Atid. Lapid, who lives in Ramat Aviv, is married to novelist Lihi Lapid and has three children, also has a background in the arts: he worked as an actor in his 20s and has authored several novels and plays.
2. Rabbi Shai Piron, 47, is a prominent rabbi and educator in the religious Zionist movement. Head of a large yeshiva in Petah Tikva, Piron also is involved in efforts to bridge the gap between secular and religious communities through Tzohar, a well-known organization which he helped to found. Piron is married with six children and lives in Oranit, a small settlement cut through by the Green Line near Rosh Ha’ayin.
3. Yael German, 66, has been the mayor of Herzliya since 1998. Formerly associated with the left-wing Meretz party, German is a popular mayor who is thought to have improved the quality of life in one of Israel’s most prosperous cities. She is married with two children.
4. Meir Cohen, 58, is the mayor of Dimona, a post he has held since 2003. Cohen has a background in education and is noted for improving economic and environmental conditions in his city. Under his tenure Dimona was voted one of the top 10 greenest cities in the country.
5. Yaakov Peri, 69, is a former head of the Shin Bet security agency who was responsible for tactical and structural changes in the organization during the first Palestinian uprising. After his retirement, he was CEO of Cellcom and taught at Harvard. He appears in “The Gatekeepers,” the Oscar-nominated documentary that features interviews with past heads of the Shin Bet.
6. Ofer Shelah, 53, is a seasoned political and military commentator and sports journalist who has worked for Yedioth Ahronoth, Maariv and elsewhere. He has written extensively about the IDF and security issues, and served in an elite paratrooper unit during the first Lebanon War in the 1980s. Shelah, who is a widower, lives in Moshav Ginaton and has two children.
7. Dr. Aliza Lavie, 49, is a senior lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and a well-known author and television personality. Her work focuses on gender issues and multiculturalism in Judaism and Israeli society. Her best-selling “A Jewish Woman’s Prayer Book” won the National Jewish Book Award in English translation in 2008. Lavie, who is Orthodox, lives in Netanya and has four children and a granddaughter.
8. Yoel Razvozov, 33, sits on the Netanya city council and on the Israel Olympic Committee. Razvozov, who at age 11 immigrated from Azerbaijan with his family, was Israeli judo champion at age 16 and represented Israel in the 2004 Olympic Games.
9. Dr. Adi Kol, 36, is a social activist who works especially on providing educational opportunities for underprivileged youth and women. Kol received her doctorate from Columbia University. In 2011 she was awarded the Knesset Speaker’s Prize for Quality of Life.
10. Karin Elharar, 35, is an attorney specializing in the rights of seniors, the handicapped and Holocaust survivors. She heads the legal clinic at Bar-Ilan University.
11. Mickey Levy, 62, was a career police officer who served as Jerusalem chief of police from 2000 to 2003, during the Second Intifada. After his retirement Levy worked as the Israeli police attache in Washington, DC, and as an international public security consultant.
12. Shimon Solomon, 43, emigrated from Ethiopia in 1980 and focuses on Ethiopian and refugee issues in Israel. He was until recently educational director at the Aghozo-Shalom Youth Village, a rehabilitation center for traumatized orphans in Rwanda. From 2005 to 2007 he worked in the Israeli Embassy in Addis Ababa, and was later director of an immigrant absorption center in Beersheba.
13. Dr. Ruth Calderon, 49, is a prize-winning lecturer and educator specializing in Talmud and Aggada. Calderon is a key player in the secular and egalitarian Beit Midrash movement. The organization she founded, Elul, oversees over 100 secular yeshivas and learning groups around the country.
14. Penina Tamnu-Shata, 31, is an attorney and activist specializing in rights issues. She immigrated from Ethiopia at the age of 3, and will become the first female MK of Ethiopian origin.
15. Rena Frenkel, 57, works in vocational training and is the assistant director of a government-run training and employment institute covering northern Israel. Frenkel immigrated to Israel from the USSR in 1990 and is widowed with one son.
16. Yifat Kariv, 39, sits on the Hod Hashon city council and is head of the youth department in the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee. She is married with four children.
17. Rabbi Dov Lipman, 39, is an author and religious leader active in combating religious extremism in Beit Shemesh. A blogger for The Times of Israel, Lipman will be the first US-born MK since the election of Meir Kahane 30 years ago.
18. Boaz Toporovsky, 32, is a former chairman of the national student union and of the student association at the University of Tel Aviv. He has a law degree and was one of the founders of Zabar, a youth political movement with seats on the Tel Aviv city council.
19. Dr. Ronen Hoffman, 49, was one of the founders of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the IDC in Herziliya, where he is a senior lecturer. An expert in crisis management, conflict resolution, and anti-terrorism policy, Hoffman has worked for the Ministry of Defense and was a personal aide to prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.