Phenomenon of Israeli politicians crossing over from media world has been common practice in recent years
Yair Lapid’s retirement from the world of media and entry into the political ring has placed him on a long list of journalists who have made a similar move in the past, including his own father late Minister Yossef (Tommy) Lapid.
Tommy Lapid headed the Shinui party during the 1999 elections, after working in the media for many years. Lapid’s campaign focused on rejection of religion coercion, and managed to win his party six mandates in Knesset, but also earned him many critics who accused him of hatred toward haredim.
During the elections for the 16th Knesset in 2003, Lapid’s party sweeped 15 mandates, making it the third largest faction in Knesset. Lapid was appointed deputy prime minister and justice minister during Ariel Sharon’s second term in office. After two years, Shinui broke away from the coalition, and eventually Lapid announced his retirement from political life. Two-and-a-half years later, Lapid passed away.
Journalist-turned-politicians became an especially popular occurrence during the last two elections: Shelly Yachimovich, the current chairwoman of the Labor party, was regarded as a leading journalist until entering politics in 2005. Yachimovich held key positions in the media and tried to push forward a social agenda.
Anastassia Michaeli, a model and TV anchor, joined the political sphere as well ahead ahead of the 17th Knesset, but was not chosen for the Kadima list. Later on, Michaeli moved to Yisrael Beiteinu and joined the 18th Knesset.
Four other journalists joined the ranks of the current Knesset: Daniel Ben-Simon, recipient of the prestigious Sokolov journalistic award, joined the Labor party in 2008; Uri Orbach joined the list of Habayit Hayehudi party and later was appointed a member of Knesset.
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) served as a journalist for some 20 years before joining politics. And Nino Abesadze, who worked as a reporter in Georgia, joined Kadima in 2008 at the request of party chairwoman Tzipi Livni. After MK Tzachi Hanegbi resigned from the Knesset in 2010, Abesadze took his seat.
Many years before them, Owner of „This World” weekly Uri Avneri crossed over when he was elected to Knesset in 1965. Avneri doubled his power in the next elections and also served in the 9th Knesset. In the past few decades, Avneri has continued to be an outspoken left-wing activists outside the halls of parliamen.