When in March 2015 the last election to the Knesset or Israeli Parliament took place, ten parties got to win seats in the legislative body. The winner, Likud, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, held less than a fourth of the seats contested. This fragmentation of the political party system might seem alien to people coming from a European or American context but it isn’t something new in Israel’s plural society.
Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the electorate has had a wide variety of options at its disposal, ranging from the most hard-line right wing to the communist and radical left-wing options. But, again in contrast to other democratic systems, the political spectrum doesn’t only rely on left-right divisions. The issues regarding the peculiar nature of the State of Israel have been heavily discussed. The role of religion in a Jewish state, the integration of new Jewish immigrants (olot), the future of the occupied (or disputed) territories in the West Bank and the foreign relations with Arab states, are, among other matters, dividing topics that make the Israel’s political life fragmented and sometimes unstable, but certainly fascinating.