Recently, the Israeli Knesset passed a bill: according to Netanyahu and his coalition, affirming Israeli statehood; according to its detractors, promoting segregation and discrimination.

Some on social media claimed that pictures of members of the Knesset supporting the bill showed only white men, indicating the support base of the bill. This is reminiscent of similar statements about photos of other politicians signing bills, e.g. Trump.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the presence of Ultra-Orthodox members voting for the bill (none are female) might reduce the percentage of women Knesset members in support, and certainly I'd expect the strong opposition from Arab politicians to change the ethnic breakdown. But I'm not sure.

What was the percentage of female and non-white1 Knesset menbers voting for the statehood bill, and how does that compare to the Knesset as a whole?

1: I'm aware that this is a tricky thing to define, and that Israeli and Palestinan perceptions might differ from those of most Americans.

  • Why does that interest you? How is that relevant to the issue stated in the first paragraph? Aug 2, 2018 at 7:16
  • 1
    @TsahiAsher I suppose this is due to the assumption that white men tend to support nationalistic and discriminatory ideas worldwide. Whether this assumption is true, or whether it makes sense in modern day Israel, is a completely different question.
    – Thern
    Aug 3, 2018 at 14:24
  • @Thern then I would still prefer giving an answer that will point it doesn't make sense, than giving an irrelevant answer as Gramatik did. Aug 5, 2018 at 6:05
  • @TashiAsher - A good answer might point out some of the potential mistaken assumptions behind the opinions referenced in a question. But I feel like it still has to answer the question.
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 5, 2018 at 6:08
  • @TsahiAsher - Obviously, I do have opinions on the issues you're talking about...but right here I'm basically trying to get answers that will provide an objective reference to people who are wondering whether this assertion, which I've seen a few times, is really true. Whether it's meaningful is important too, and it would be great to see that in an answer, but I think the question itself needs to be addressed as well.
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 5, 2018 at 6:16

2 Answers 2


The current party/member breakdown of the 120 member Knesset is as follows: (source)

Party Breakdown

Ruling coalition (66 seats):

  • Likud (30 seats)
  • Kulanu (10)
  • The Jewish Home (8)
  • Shas (7)
  • United Torah Judaism (6)
  • Yisrael Beiteinu (5)

Opposition (54 seats):

  • Zionist Union (24 seats)
  • Joint List (13)
  • Yesh Atid (11)
  • Meretz (5)
  • Independent (1)

The law in question was passed 62-55, with one abstention from each coalition, Likud and Independent (source). Two flips were Israeli Arab members of the ruling coalition (source). I was unable to find a member-by-member breakdown of the vote but from there it can be assumed the rest of the vote was along party lines.

Operating under this assumption, the question becomes: what is the gender and racial breakdown of each coalition?

Gender Breakdown (source)

Ruling coalition (16 women, 66 seats, 24% women):

  • Likud (8 women, 30 seats)
  • Kulanu (4, 10)
  • The Jewish Home (2, 8)
  • Shas (0, 7)
  • United Torah Judaism (0, 6)
  • Yisrael Beiteinu (2, 5)

Opposition (18 women, 54 seats, 33% women):

  • Zionist Union (9 women, 24 seats)
  • Joint List (2, 13)
  • Yesh Atid (4, 11)
  • Meretz (2, 5)
  • Independent (1, 1)

Origin/Ethnic Breakdown (source)

White/non-white doesn't really apply here, but in the sense of majority vs minority what you're looking for is Israeli Jew vs "Other", with "other" primarily being Israeli Arabs.

There are 15 members of the opposition that are Israeli Arab, and 3 in the ruling coalition. Two of the Israeli Arab members of the ruling coalition flipped on this vote.


Given the above, the breakdown is as follows:

54% of men in the Knesset voted for the bill, while 47% of women voted for the bill

6% of Israeli Arabs in the Knesset (only Ayoob Kara, by process of elimination) voted for the bill, while 94% of Israeli Arabs voted against the bill

  • I would still argue this analysis is pointless, and adds nothing to understanding the pros and cons of this law. Aug 5, 2018 at 6:03
  • "White/non-white doesn't really apply here...." While that's a useful thing to know, the point is that it's relevant to the way some people are approaching the issue. To be frank, the Jewish vs. Arab voting on the bill is essentially a forgone conclusion, and so it's not really what I'm asking about.
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 5, 2018 at 6:11
  • The people making this argument, essentially, are suggesting that "non-white" Knesset members, even if Jewish, are less likely to support this bill. Whether they include Sephardic Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Ethiopian Jews, etc. in this category varies, but that's the basic point. Is this idea correct? Well, that's part of what I'm trying to find out.
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 5, 2018 at 6:14
  • @Obie2.0 for this particular bill it looks like the vote was along party lines save for arab members of both sides (unsurprisingly) opposing it. You'd probably get a better idea of which individuals from either party would break from their party and oppose/support something similar with a bill that isn't so controversial
    – Gramatik
    Aug 6, 2018 at 17:49

The gender and "racial" breakdown of the voters doesn't concern anyone in Israel. I could give you a breakdown of the gender and ethnicity of the voters, but that doesn't help to describe the controversy over the law. Knesset Members of all genders and ethnicities both supported it and objected it.

The controversy over the law revolves around it's content, and the rights it gives, or does not give, different parts of the people of Israel. If you'll ask about that, I could try and answer it.

You are using terms taken from American politics, of White and non-White. This hardly exists in Israel, and certainly not in the context of this vote.

  • 2
    "I could give you a breakdown of the gender and ethnicity of the voters" - then please do, because that's what OP is asking for. The rest of your answer is important for providing context to said breakdown, but doesn't actually answer the question.
    – F1Krazy
    Aug 1, 2018 at 16:46
  • 2
    Whether the "gender and racial breakdown of the voters doesn't concern" anyone in Israel is useful information, but not what my question is about. Israel is not the only country where people have opinions on this bill. Also, when I see words like "anyone" I'm always skeptical. Anyone is a large number.
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 1, 2018 at 17:56
  • 1
    I understand what you're saying, @Obie2.0, but as a resident of Israel, your question looks like it's completely off-course. Yes, this law is controversial, but why is the gender of the voters relevant for anything? Aug 2, 2018 at 7:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .