Fired: Shaked, Bennett & the 30 other MKs forced to add ‘former’ to their titles
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Fired: Shaked, Bennett & the 30 other MKs forced to add ‘former’ to their titles

New Right co-leaders are joined by 9 from Likud, 11 from Labor and 10 other lawmakers who ran in the 2019 elections but failed to make it into 21st Knesset

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked from the New Right party at an election campaign tour in central Jerusalem on January 23, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked from the New Right party at an election campaign tour in central Jerusalem on January 23, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

While Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett may have been the most talked about names that will not roam the halls of parliament as MKs in the upcoming term, the New Right co-leaders are joined by 30 other lawmakers from the 20th Knesset who will be forced to clear their offices after Tuesday’s results leave them on the outside looking in.

According to the final tally a record-breaking 49 new MKs will be sworn in on April 30, overtaking the 48 fresh faces elected in 2013, making it the most rookie Knesset since Israel’s first ever elections which saw, somewhat obviously, 120 new lawmakers elected.

That means that 49 MKs will also be packing up their offices to leave the Knesset. While 19 of them had anticipated the end of their parliamentary careers, announcing before the election that they planned to step down and not run in the new elections, the rest had fulling intended to be coming back. The electorate, however, had another idea.

Here are some of the prominent MKs we won’t be seeing back in the Knesset, despite their best efforts:

Likud

Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ability to win his party 36 seats, the ruling faction’s internal primaries reshuffled his slate considerably, leaving several longtime and freshmen lawmakers alike in unrealistic spots going into the elections, no matter how well the day would go for Likud.

The most prominent member on this list was Ayoub Kara, who has served in the 15th, 16th, 18th and 20th Knessets, most recently as communications minister. Kara, a longtime Netanyahu loyalist, reportedly threw a tantrum in February, calling fellow Likud members “Nazis,” after the premier dropped him from the reserved spot that he had previously held for a minority group member. Kara was the country’s only cabinet minister from the Druze community.

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara speaks to reporters prior to the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem on November 12, 2017. (Olivier Fitoussi/Pool/Flash90)

While not the most prominent in stature, Oren Hazan was likely the most well-known Likud incumbent who has failed to make it into the Knesset. Hazan ran as the chairman of the long-defunct Tzomet party after a poor showing in the Likud primaries. Stops on the campaign trail in front of Israeli prisons, where he heckled the families of Palestinian security prisoners visiting their relatives, signaled that he was hoping to continue his provocative antics in the 21st Knesset as well.

Hazan, who entered the Knesset in the 2015 election, had become known as the enfant terrible of Israel’s parliament. He notoriously took a selfie with US President Donald Trump when the US president was being welcomed at Ben Gurion Airport in May 2017, leading to a change in government protocol.

Shortly after he went into politics, a Hadashot news exposé alleged that Hazan had previously run a casino in Bulgaria where hard drugs and prostitution were allowed. Since then, Hazan was temporarily banned from the Knesset multiple times over various wrongdoings. He publicly mocked a disabled colleague, told a female MK she was too ugly to be a prostitute, and called another wheelchair-bound MK “half a human.”

Terrorism expert and Likud Knesset member Anat Berko (Noah Melamed)

Other Likud members who ran Tuesday but did not make it into the Knesset included Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick, Avraham Neguise, Nava Boker, Nurit Koren, Yaron Mazuz and Anat Berko, who once memorably called into question the veracity of the Palestinian claim to regional territory by citing the absence of the “P” sound in the Arabic alphabet.

Labor

For the Labor Party, the list is even longer, with 11 candidates who ran on Tuesday failing to maintain their positions. With the storied party receiving just six seats, even the former faction head Merav Michaeli, No. 7 on the slate, will be forced to clear her desk. The former journalist had served in the Knesset since 2013 and long been known as an outspoken advocate for gender equality. There has been growing pressure on party head Avi Gabbay and his No. 2 Tal Russo to resign, but the former is reportedly only considering dropping the title of chairman while remaining in the Knesset and the latter on Friday denied he was under pressure to quit. Meaning that for now, Michaeli will remain on the outside.

She was followed on the Labor list by Omer Barlev. A former commander of the most elite IDF commando unit Sayeret Matkal, Barlev was an active proponent of a two-state solution and focused mainly on security issues during his six years in the Knesset.

Zionist Union party chair Isaac Herzog (C) with MK Amir Peretz (2L), MK Hilik Bar (L), MK Eitan Cabel (R) and MK Merav Michaeli (2R) during a press conference welcoming Peretz back to the Labor party, February 8, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Other outgoing MKs from the party are Haim Jelin, who joined the party after being given an unrealistic spot on the Yesh Atid list, longtime Labor stalwart and Gabbay critic Eitan Cabel, Revital Swid, Michal Biran, Yael Cohen-Paran, Salah Sa’ad, Leah Fadida, Nachman Shai and Moshe Mizrahi.

New Right

While much has been written on why the New Right failed to make it into the Knesset, less emphasis has been placed on what the Knesset will be losing with Shaked and Bennett no longer in it.

One of Israel’s most popular ministers, according to polls conducted throughout the past term, Shaked championed judicial reform, seeking to limit the power of the branch while appointing more conservative-leaning judges to all levels of the court. Since entering the Knesset in 2013, she advanced legislation seeking to legalize outposts throughout the West Bank and used her role as justice minister to set legal precedents on the matter that can be utilized to regulate towns beyond the Green Line once thought to be destined for demolition.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at a Jewish Home party faction meeting at the Knesset on May 7, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Bennett rejuvenated the Jewish Home immediately upon arrival in 2013, bringing the national religious party to a commanding 12 seats in the 19th Knesset in which he served as both diaspora affairs minister and economy minister. In the 2015 election, he led the party to an eight-seat finish and went on to serve as education minister. During his time in the Knesset, Bennett fought aggressively against the notion of a Palestinian state and frequently challenged Netanyahu on the matter, warning he would bolt any coalition that agreed to a land for peace formula. He was also an outspoken opponent of prisoner swaps with Palestinian leadership and pushed the security cabinet to approve an operation to dismantle cross-border terror tunnels on the Gaza border during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

Bennett and Shaked had also brought MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli along with them when they left the Jewish Home and she too will be forced to pack up after Tuesday’s defeat. Since entering the Knesset with the Jewish Home party in 2013, she introduced legislation aimed at legalizing wildcat outposts beyond the Green Line, aimed at walking back Israel’s 2005 pullout from northern West Bank settlements, in addition to a passed measure outlawing prostitution.

Kulanu

Kulanu’s poor electoral showing on Tuesday meant three of its outgoing MKs won’t be back. The five, six and seven spots were all occupied by candidates who served in the 20th Knesset: Tali Ploskov, Merav Ben-Ari and Akram Hasson. Ben-Ari championed social-minded legislation and was known as an advocate for gender equality and LGBT rights.

Ra’am-Balad

While some of Ra’am-Balad’s MKs from the previous Knesset were barred from running again due to internal protocol, Islamic Movement members Taleb Abu Arar and Said al-Harumi failed to get in for a second term despite being given “realistic” spots on the alliance’s list, which went on to only receive four seats.

Abu Arar and al-Harumi were known as campaigners on behalf of unrecognized Bedouin communities in the Negev, from where they both hail.

Joint (Arab) List MK Taleb Abu Arar at the Supreme Court on January 23, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Gesher

The only other party chairman who served in the outgoing parliament but failed to make it into the incoming Knesset is Gesher’s Orly Levy-Abekasis. She founded the socio-economic minded party after breaking off from Yisrael Beytenu in 2016 and flying solo as an independent in the Knesset opposition for the past three years.

During her nearly ten years in the Knesset, she served as deputy speaker and advocated on behalf of at-risk youth, gender-equality and sexual assault victims.

Blue and White

Only one MK from the 20th Knesset who ran on Blue and White list failed to retain her seat on Tuesday: Aliza Lavie. The academic-turned politician had served in the Knesset as a Yesh Atid MK since 2013. During that time, she chaired  the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality and was placed on the key Finance and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committees. In July 2015, she was named “Outstanding Member of Knesset” by the Israel Democracy Institute, for her activities in the outgoing parliamentary session.

Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie speaks at the joint Knesset and Constitution Committee meeting in the Knesset in Jerusalem, on July 16, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Yisrael Beytenu

Hamad Amar was the lone Yisrael Beytenu member in the 20th Knesset who ran again but failed to make it. The Druze politician has been in parliament for nearly a decade and while he stood by his chairman’s assertion that Israeli citizenship should require a loyalty pledge from non-Jewish citizens, he was an ardent opponent of the nation-state law passed last year, arguing that it marginalized his Arabic-speaking minority.

Meretz

In Meretz, it was only Mossi Raz who attempted to make it into the Knesset for an additional term but failed when the party only won four seats. Raz filled in for ex-chair Zehava Galon when she resigned in 2017. He had also been an MK in the 15th Knesset from 2000 to 2003. The former Peace Now director was an outspoken opponent of the settlement movement in addition to Israel’s military rule over Palestinians in the West Bank. Raz visited Rwanda last year along with fellow lawmaker Michal Rozin in an effort to pressure Kigali to end its cooperation with a short-lived Israeli policy to forcibly deport asylum seekers.

Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.

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