Just 5 Percent of MKs Were Survivors, Numbers Show

The Knesset building in Yerushalayim. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Since the establishment of the Knesset in 1949, there have been 935 members of the plenum – but only 50 were Holocaust survivors, just 5.33 percent of all Israeli lawmakers. The data was released Monday by the Knesset Archives, in commemoration of Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs Day.

The largest number of survivors served in the first Knesset, when nine refugees who had passed at least some of the war years in Europe served among the 120-member body. No survivors have served in the Knesset since 2009, with the last three serving in the 17th Knesset, which was elected in 2006. Forty-six of the 50 survivors to serve were men, with only four female survivors serving.

Five of those members achieved the post of minister. However, three of them were also speakers of the Knesset, a post usually reserved for the most senior members of the plenum. Those three were MKs Menachem Savidor in the 10th Knesset, Dov Shilansky in the 12th, and Shevach Weiss in the 13th. So far, only two members of the “second generation” – Israelis born in the country to refugees from Europe – have served in the Knesset or as ministers, the most well-known being Yair Lapid, son of former MK and minister Yosef Lapid.