List of political parties in Israel

List of political parties in Israel

Israel's political system is based on proportional representation which allows for a multi-party system with numerous parties. Although there are three major parties, a single party usually has no chance of gaining power by itself, forcing the parties to cooperate and form coalition governments. This article lists the political parties in Israel.

Naming convention

In the English-language media some parties are known by their Hebrew name, whilst others have their names translated into English. However, there is some method behind the inconsistency, and naming conventions can be broken into three groups.

Parties known by their English name

In general, Israeli political parties are known by their English name when there is a party with an equivalent name in the English-speaking world. This is the case for the Israeli Labour Party, which associates itself with Labour parties abroad, such as the British Labour Party. Other parties known by their English names include the National Union, the Jewish National Front and the The Greens.

Names are also generally translated when the party's origin or concept is explained in its name. This includes the United Arab List, the National Religious Party or United Torah Judaism. The latter two are also known by their English initials, NRP and UTJ.

Occasionally names are translated when the Hebrew is too unwieldy for English speakers to manage, such as the Alignment ("HaMa'arakh").

Parties known by their Hebrew name

Israeli political parties that do not have an equivalent in the English-speaking world are usually known by their Hebrew name. This includes parties such as Kadima ("Forward"), Likud ("Consolidation"), Meretz ("Energy") and Yisrael Beiteinu ("Israel Our Home").

Parties known by their Hebrew/Arabic acronym

It is very common in Israel for parties to be known by acronyms of their name. This is at least partially caused by Hebrew and Arabic's capacity for acronym forming, due to the fact that vowels are not written in words. For instance, the Hebrew word "degel" (flag) would be written "dgl" (Hebrew: דגל) with the gaps filled by unwritten vowels. Thus whilst the Scottish National Party is known as the SNP, in Israel the Democratic Front for Peace ("haHazit haDemokratit leSHalom") is known as Hadash. This is also similar to the norm in many Latin American countries; for example, a member of Brazil's "Partido dos Trabalhadores" (PT, or Worker's Party) can be called a "Petista" or a member of the "Partido da Frente Liberal", a "Pefelista."

When written in English, rather than translating the acronym, the Hebrew is used but with the vowels added. Other contemporary parties known by their acronyms include Balad, Gil, Hetz, Meimad and Shas. Historical parties named in such a way incude Mapai, Mapam, Maki, Gahal, Mizrachi and Rafi.


As with many rules, there are always a few exceptions. Shinui ("Reform") is known by its Hebrew name despite Reform Parties being common internationally.

Current parties

Parties represented in the current Knesset

The following parties are represented in the 17th Knesset:

Other parties

The following parties ran for the 2006 elections but did not pass the electoral threshold:
*Ale Yarok
*Arab National Party
*Atid Ehad
*Brit Olam
*Green Party
*Herut – The National Movement
*Hetz (a new brand name for Citizen and State)
*Jewish National Front/Yamin Israel
*Justice for All
*Lev LaOlim
*New Zionism
*Organization for Democratic Action
*Party for the War against Banks
*Strength to the Poor

Minor political parties

There are several other minor political parties that did not participate in the 2006 elections:
*Advanced National Union
*Ahavat Israel
*Moreshet Avot
*Natural Law Party

New parties

The following parties have been formed since the 2006 elections:
*Social Justice

Former parties

Name changes

The following parties changed their names
*"Banai" became "Tehiya-Bnai" then Tehiya
*"Emunim" became Tkuma
*"Equality in Israel-Panthers" became the Unity Party
*"Flatto-Sharon" became Development and Peace
*"Hitkhabrut" became the "Renewed Religious National Zionist Party", then Ahi
*"Israel in the Centre" became the Centre Party
*"Meretz" became "Yachad" then Meretz-Yachad
*"Movement for Change and Initiative" became Shinui
*"Mizrachi-Hapoel HaMizrachi" became the "National Religious Front" then the National Religious Party
*"National Responsibility" became Kadima
*"National Unity - National Progressive Alliance" became Progressive National Alliance
*"Parliamentary Group of Bronfman and Tsinker" became "Makhar", then the Democratic Choice
*"Party for the Advancement of the Zionist Idea" became the New Liberal Party
*"Rafi – National List" became Ometz
*"Rakah" became Maki
*"Social-Democratic Faction" became the Independent Socialist Faction
*"Shinui - Centre Party" became "Shinui - the Secular Movement", then "Shinui - Party for the Secular and the Middle Class", but is generally known as Shinui

Zionist youth movements

*Betar (associated with Likud)
*Bnei Akiva ("Sons of Akiva", associated with the National Religious Party)
*Habonim Dror ("The Builders - Freedom", socialist Zionist youth movement)
*Hashomer Hatzair ("The Young Guard", socialist Zionist youth movement associated with Mapam and Meretz-Yachad)
*Magshimey Herut (associated with Herut)
*HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed ("The Learning and Working Youth", socialist Zionist youth movement)
*Noar Avoda ("Labour Youth", associated with Labour)
*Noar Moledet ("Moledet Youth", associated with Moledet)
*Noar Meretz ("Meretz Youth", associated with Meretz-Yachad)

See also

*Index of political parties to browse parties by name
*List of political parties to browse parties by country
*List of political parties by ideology to browse parties by name
*Membership of internationals to browse parties by membership of internationals
*Liberalism in Israel
*Labour Zionism
*Revisionist Zionism

External links

* [ Party registrar, list of registered political parties] Ministry of Justice
* [ Parties participating in the 2006 elections] Knesset website en icon
* [ All parliamentary groups] Knesset website en icon

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