(JNi.media) On Wednesday, three Knesset members, one from Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party and two from Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid decided to abandon their political careers following their parties’ failure to join Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition government.
The most senior among the three is Rabbi Shai Piron, an Orthodox Jew who once was the dean of a yeshiva, and who served as Education Minister in the previous government, for a little over a year and a half. Piron traded his MK’s seat for a position in the Sderot school system, not far from the Gaza Strip border. Piron did tell reporters a few months ago that he is as ready to serve the nation from the opposition as he had done from the government, but, apparently, a few months of being kept away from an executive post cooled his enthusiasm.
The second, more surprising resignation, also hit the Lapid party, as MK Aliza Lavi, another Modern Orthodox Jew, departed Wednesday. Dr. Lavi, a renowned Orthodox feminist, used her position as chair of the Knesset committee to advance women’s status to push several laws to help women seeking a divorce, and to create shelters for battered women.
One of the Lapid seats will be filled by another Modern Orthodox Jew, Elazer Stern, who switched from Tzipi Livni’s party to Lapid’s, only to watch both factions ending up outside the government. Stern, who was raised in the National Religious movement, is not considered an avid advocate of the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.
MK Sharon Gal, who has been a vociferous promoter of the positions of his party boss, MK Lieberman, in attacking Arab MKs and Israel’s left. His biggest claim to fame during his short term in politics has been his membership in the committee to appoint judges, where he insisted that no non-Jewish candidate will ever receive his vote. Gal will host a personal show on Israel’s channel 20, which deals with Jewish issues.
Gal is the second dropout from Lieberman’s party, following Tsfat Mayor Ilan Shochat, who left as soon as he realized there won’t be an executive job for him.
Israeli media commentators have pointed to the fact that both parties, Lieberman’s and Lapid’s can only exist in conjunction with a membership in government, unlike Likud, Labor, and Meretz, which rely on substantial institutions and a historic following that sustain them during the dry seasons. It can be expected that, come next election, Lapid’s and Liberman’s electoral value will drop even further, as their access to patronage jobs and influence on special interest legislation have diminished considerably.