Major Players in the 2015 Race

Here is an overview of the 11 major parties likely to pass the electoral threshold of 3.25 percent in Israel’s 2015 elections:

Likud/Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu: If Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party and the incumbent prime minister, wins this election he will serve a historic fourth term as Israel’s prime minister.

The Zionist Union/Isaac “Buji” Herzog and Tzipi Livni: The Zionist Union consists of the joint Labor and Hatnuah list. Politician and lawyer, Herzog, is the son of Israel’s sixth President, Chaim Herzog. Herzog is the chairman of the opposition Labor party. Herzog joined forces with former justice minister, Tzipi Livni of the Hatnuah Party. Livni, daughter of ardent nationalists has more recently come to be a spokeswoman of the center-left bloc. Herzog and Livni are attempting to stop Netanyahu from being elected for an additional term and are trying to seize power for the left-wing.

Habayit Hayehudi/Naftali Bennett: Bennett, born in Haifa in 1972 to American immigrant parents, is the leader of the “Jewish Home,” a right-wing religious party. Bennett is a former elite army unit commander in the IDF, entrepreneur and self-made millionaire, and most recently, finance minister.

Yesh Atid/Yair Lapid: Lapid founded Yesh Atid (“we have a future”) in 2012 to represent Israel’s middle class. In the last government, Yesh Atid was the second largest party with 19 Knesset seats. When Lapid, who was previously finance minster, was fired by Netanyahu after a disagreement over the 2015 budget, the government collapsed and new elections were called.

Kulanu/Moshe Kahlon: Kahlon, former welfare minister and communications minister for the Likud, founded Kulanu in November 2014 and the party is running on a largely socio-economic platform.

Yisrael Beitenu/Avigdor Lieberman: The secular right-wing party was established by Lieberman as a platform for mainly Russian speaking immigrants to Israel.

Shas/Aryeh Deri: After prominent Shas members Eli Yishai left the party to form a new one and Ariel Atias resigned from the Knesset, Shas is now being led exclusively by Deri.

United Torah Judaism/Yaakov Litzman: The Ashkenazi ultra-orthodox party is mainly focused on securing economic policies that help its ultra-orthodox constituents.

Meretz/Zehava Gal-On: This far left-wing party features many women candidates.

Joint Arab List/Aiman Uda: Israel’s three far-left Arab parties decided to run together to ensure that they pass the recently raised electorate threshold of 3.25%. The party consists of Balad, Ra’am Ta’al and Hadash, a joint Arab-Jewish party.

Yachad-Ha’am Itanu/Eli Yishai: After leaving his longtime party Shas, Yishai went on to found his own party. The party is running together with Baruch Marzel’s hawkish right-wing party Otzma Yehudit in the 2015 elections.