Israeli Political Parties

    Here is a look at the main Israeli political parties that will contest an early parliamentary election in January or February next year. The parties will compete for 120 seats in Israel's single-chamber national assembly, called the Knesset. The seats will be allocated by proportional representation to party lists that win a minimum of two percent of the national vote.

    LIKUD (The Consolidation)
    * Nationalist, conservative party of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    * It holds 27 seats in Israel's outgoing 66-seat ruling coalition of nationalist, centrist and religious parties
    * Polls indicate it is likely to maintain its strength and become the largest party in the next Knesset
    * Its ruling coalition has largely shielded Israel's economy from the global financial crisis
    * It accepts the idea of a Palestinian state
    * It insists on an Israeli right to develop Jewish settlements on occupied land claimed by Palestinians
    * It refuses to rule out a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear sites if Tehran produces weapons-grade uranium

    LABOR
    * Center-left opposition party led by former journalist Shelly Yachimovich
    * Leaders of the party and its precursors led all governments from Israel's independence in 1948 to 1977
    * It holds only 8 seats in the outgoing Knesset, but polls suggest it will rebound to become the second largest faction
    * It quit Netanyahu's government in 2011
    * It wants to reduce Israel's large economic gaps between rich and poor and create a more 'just' society
    * It takes a more conciliatory approach than Likud toward seeking peace with the Palestinians

    YISRAEL BEITENU (Israel Our Home)
    * Ultranationalist, secular party led by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
    * It is the second largest party in the outgoing government, holding 15 seats
    * It draws much of its support from Israeli immigrants from the former Soviet Union
    * It often has taken a tougher line than Likud on the stalled peace process with the Palestinians

    SHAS (Sfarad's Guards of the Torah)
    * Ultra-Orthodox religious party founded by Sephardi Jews of Middle Eastern origin
    * It holds 11 seats in the outgoing Likud-led government
    * It seeks to devote more public funds to the social welfare needs of observant Sephardi Jews
    * Its supporters tend to be hawkish on security issues

    YESH ATID (There is a Future)
    * New centrist, secular party established this year by Yair Lapid, a popular TV personality
    * It advocates changing Israel's political system of often short-lived, fractious coalition governments
    * Polls indicate it will win at least several seats in the Knesset

    KADIMA (Forward)
    * Centrist opposition party led by Shaul Mofaz, former military chief of staff
    * It is the largest party in the outgoing Knesset, with 28 seats, and leads the opposition
    * It joined the ruling coalition in May this year, but pulled out in July
    * Mofaz quit in protest at Netanyahu's refusal to support a proposed law requiring ultra-Orthodox Jews to perform military service
    * Mofaz advocates creating a Palestinian state through land swaps, ceding Israeli territory in return for annexing Jewish settlements
    * Mofaz accuses Netanyahu of trying to lead Israel toward an irresponsible, unilateral war with Iran
    * Polls suggest the party will fare poorly in the next election due to Mofaz's reputation for changing positions

    ATZMAUT (Independence)
    * Center-left party founded by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak
    * Its members split from Labor in 2011 and joined Netanyahu's government as a separate faction with 5 seats
    * Barak, a former prime minister, has been a close ally of Netanyahu
    * Barak-Netanyahu relationship has become strained due to recent differences in how to seek U.S. support for Israel's Iran strategy

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.