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Key parties in incoming Israeli parliament

Updated at: 01/24/2013 2:07 PM
By The Associated Press

Israel’s parliamentary election left the two main blocs nearly deadlocked with 61 seats on the right and 59 seats in the center-left, based on complete official vote counts.

HARD-LINE AND RELIGIOUS BLOC

_Likud-Yisrael Beitenu (31 seats): Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud teamed up with Yisrael Beitenu for the election. Likud is known for opposition to compromise with the Palestinians, Yisrael Beitenu represents immigrants from the former Soviet Union and takes a hard line on the Palestinian issue.

_Jewish Home (12 seats): Representing modern Orthodox Jews, the party’s leader, high-tech millionaire Naftali Bennett, appealed to both Orthodox and secular Israelis.

_Shas (11 seats): Represents Orthodox Jews of Middle East origin. Its followers tend to be hawkish, working class, and the party traditionally has been a Likud ally.

_United Torah Judaism (7 seats): The party represents ultra-Orthodox Jews of European ancestry. It has served in both dovish and hawkish governments.

CENTRIST AND DOVISH BLOC

_Yesh Atid (19 seats): Founded by former TV personality Yair Lapid, the new party represents secular, middle-class interests. Yesh Atid becomes the second-largest party in parliament.

_Labor (15 seats): Led by former broadcast journalist Shelly Yachimovich, Labor emphasized domestic issues over its traditional moderate approach toward the Palestinians.

_Israeli Arab parties (11 seats): Three parties represent the interests of Israel’s minority Arab citizens. They identify with the Palestinian cause.

_Hatnua (6 seats): Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni formed the party to present an alternative to voters distressed by the stalemate in peacemaking.

_Meretz (6 seats): Traditional dovish, secular party known for supporting concessions for peace with the Palestinians and human rights causes.

_Kadima (2 seats): Largest party in outgoing parliament, broke apart and appears to have barely made the minimum for seats in the new parliament.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)