First legislative election held in Israel’s statehood; held in newly independent Israel on 25 January 1949. Voter turnout was 86.9%. Two days after the Constituent Assembly’s first meeting on 14 February 1949, legislators voted to change its name to Knesset , which is Hebrew for Assembly. Known today as First Knesset. PM elect was David Ben- Gurion of Mapai.
Party Votes/%/Seats Mapai 155,274; 35.7; 46 Mapam 64,018; 14.7; 19 United Religious Front 52,982; 12.2; 16 Herut 49,782; 11.4; 14 General Zionists 22,661; 5.2; 7 Progressive Party 17,786; 4.1; 5 Sephardim and Oriental 15,287; 3.5; 4 Committees Maki 15,148; 3.5; 4 Democratic List of 7,387; 1.7; 2 Nazareth Fighters’ List 5,363; 1.2; 1
Held in Israel on 1 November 1965. Voter turnout was 85.9%. Two major alliances were created prior to elections: one between Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda (which united to create the Alignment) and the other between Herut and Liberal Party creating Gahal alliance towards end of last Knesset session. Both Mapai and Liberal Party had dealt breakaway factions, Ben- Gurion led Rafi and Independent Liberals (composed largely of ex- Progressive Party members), respectively. Communist Maki also oversaw break earlier in 1965, with most Arab members and some Jewish members leaving the party to establish a new party known as Rakah; founded on 1 September 1965, Rakah is now known as Maki, legal successor/replacement of old Maki.
Party Party Alignment National Religious Party Votes: 443,379 Votes: 107,966 %: 36.7 %: 8.9 Seats: 45 Seats: 11 +/-: -5 +/-: -1 Gahal Rafi Votes: 256,957 Votes: 95,328 %: 21.3 %: 7.9 Seats: 26 Seats: 10 +/-: -1 +/-: New party
Held in Israel on 28 October 1969. Voter turnout was 81.7%. Notable for seeing return of Alignment coalition to power with largest number of seats ever gained in an Israeli election (57 of total 120). Can be attributed to government’s popularity in the aftermath of Israel’s victory in Six Day of 1967, and that Alignment had been established by alliance of four most popular left-wing parties who between them had gathered 51.2% in previous election. Also last election with such a definite majority for left-wing in Israel, as horrific Yom Kippur War shortly before next election seriously destroyed Alignment’s legitimacy, with majority over Gahal lowered to only 12 seats.
Held in Israel on 31 December 1973. Voter turnout was 78.6%. Golda Meir of Alignment established sixteenth government after the election, on 10 March 1974; this included National Religious Party and Independent Liberals in coalition, with 22 ministers. On 11 April 1974, Meir resigned after Agranat Commission had released interim report on Yom Kippur War of October 1973. Alignment’s Yitzhak Rabin established seventeenth government on 3 June 1974; this included Ratz, Independent Liberals, Progress and Development and Arab List for Bedouins and Villagers. New government was composed of 19 ministers; National Religious Party joined coalition on 30 October, and Ratz left on 6 November, at which time there were 21 ministers.
Held on 17 May 1977. For the first time in Israeli political history, right-wing, under leadership of Likud, won the election, putting an end to almost 30 years of rule by left-wing Alignment and predecessor, Mapai. Dramatic change in Israeli politics made by result led to it being called “the revolution” (HaMahapakh in Hebrew), a phrase invented by TV anchor Haim Yavin when he declared election results live on television with his words “Ladies and gentlemen – a revolution!” (Gvirotai veRabotai – Mahapakh!). Saw advent of an era lasting nearly 20 years in which left- and right-wing blocs had almost equal amount of seats in Knesset. Voter turnout was 79.2%.
Held in Israel on 23 July 1984. Voter turnout was 78.8%. Results saw return of Alignment as largest party in Knesset, a status lost to rival Likud in 1977. Despite its victory, Alignment could not create government with any smaller parties; this resulted in national unity government with Likud, with both party leaders, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir, holding position of PM for two years each.
Held in Israel on 1 November 1988. Voter turnout was 79.7%. By July 1985, Israel’s inflation, supported by complex index linking of salaries, went up to 480% per annum and was highest in the world. Shimon Peres introduced emergency control over prices and freezed government expenditure, which successfully brought inflation under control. Currency (known until 1980 as Israeli lira) was replaced and renamed Israeli new shekel.
Held in Israel on 23 June 1992. Result was victory for the left, under leadership of Yitzhak Rabin’s Labor Party, whose victory was at least in part due to some small right-wing parties fell close to not crossing electoral threshold, which in turn wasted votes for the right. Voter turnout was 77.4%.
Held in Israel on 29 May 1996. Included two new changes; both were designed to strengthen stability of Knesset, provided the Knesset’s incomplete nature. PM was to be elected on separate ballot from remaining members of Knesset; election threshold for securing of a seat was raised from 1.5% to 2%. Ended in surprise victory for Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud with margin of 29,457 votes, fewer than 1% of total number of cast votes and a lot smaller than number of votes spoiled. Came after original polls predicted win for Shimon Peres, inspiring the phrase “went to sleep with Peres; woke up with Netanyahu”. Was Peres’ fourth and final election defeat.
Held in Israel on 17 May 1999 after vote of no confidence in the government; incumbent PM, Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud, ran for re-election. Only second time in history of Israel where election was held for only PM’s position, instead of solely for Knesset. First such election was previous election, which had been very close contest between Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu on the right, and Labor’s Shimon Peres on the left; the right won by less than 1% (almost 29,000 votes). Ehud Barak of One Israel, who promised to storm citadels in regard to peace with Palestinians and removal from Lebanon by July of the following year, defeated Netanyahu in landslide victory.
Held in Israel on 28 January 2003. Result was resounding victory for incumbent PM Ariel Sharon’s Likud (Sharon was elected in 2001). Last separate election for PM was discarded; the position was given back to leader of the party who successfully created working coalition government.
Held in Israel on 28 March 2006. Voting ended in plurality of seats for then-new Kadima party, followed by Labour Party, and big loss for Likud party. Following election, the government was established by Kadima, Labour, Shas, and Gil parties; Yisrael Beiteinu party joined the government later. Ehud Olmert, leader of Kadima, was acting PM, having replaced Ariel Sharon on 4 January 2006 after Sharon’s resignation.
Held in Israel on 10 February 2009. Were urgent due to resignation of PM Ehud Olmert as leader of Kadima party, and failure of successor Tzipi Livni to establish coalition government. If Olmert had stayed in office or if Livni had created coalition government, elections would have been scheduled for and held in 2010 instead.
Will be held on 22 January 2013 to elect 19th Knesset. Initially, public discussion over the Tal Law led to an early election in 2012; this was terminated at the last moment after Kadima joined the government for a short time. The elections were subsequently called in early October 2012 after an agreement to agree on the budget for 2013 failed.