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Key parties in Israeli elections

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 22, 2013 at 8:30 pm •  Published: January 22, 2013

—Jewish Home: Representing modern Orthodox Jews, the party has surged in the polls on the back of a strong pro-settlement message and the appeal of its charismatic leader, high-tech millionaire Naftali Bennett, to secular Jews. According to exit polls, Jewish Home won 11 seats.

—Shas: Founded in the early 1980s by ultra-Orthodox Jews of Middle Eastern origin who felt marginalized. Its followers tend to be hawkish and the party traditionally has been a Likud ally, even though two decades ago, its spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, ruled that saving lives is more important than keeping territory. The party emphasizes social welfare for its low-income constituency. According to exit polls, Shas won about 12 seats.

— Hatnua: The party of former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was formed less than two months ago expressly to present an alternative to voters distressed by the stalemate in peacemaking throughout Netanyahu's four-year tenure. Livni has promised an aggressive push for peace with the Palestinians. According to exit polls, the party took six seats.