Israeli Elections 2022 Educational Resources

As Israel’s 5th election in 3 years quickly approaches, let’s bring the conversations taking place in Israel to our classrooms. Israeli elections are a great educational tool to engage students in Israeli society and some of the hardest-hitting questions facing Israel today. We’ve put together a number of resources for you to use with your students — campaign ad videos, discussion topics, and everything you need to run mock elections.

  1. Everything you want to know about the 2022 Israeli Elections: 
  2. The Knesset: How Israeli Elections Work: 
  3. Campaign ads
  4. Mock Elections Program
    • Choosing a Party
    • Group Instructions
    • Resources 
    • Assessment Rubric

The Knesset: How Israeli Elections Work:

  1. Videos and Educational Resources.
    Use the video “Five Elections, Three Years: Inside Israel’s Knesset” and the accompanying educator resources to teach your students about how Israel’s government works. You can also use this already made lesson plan on the subject.
    Alternatively, you can use the video “Israeli Politics Explained” and its accompanying educator resources. 
  2. Knesset Website’s Election Quiz: Share this quiz with your students to test their knowledge of Israeli elections!

Election Videos and Educator Guide

How to use these campaign ads:

  1. Host a watch party: Show all the different ads (each with English subtitles).
  2. Group Assignment: Divide the students up into groups and assign each of them 1-2 of the campaign videos. Each group then presents an excerpt of the video and a summary of their takeaways about that party.
    For the sake of time, educators can select specific videos to show, either based on highlighting the major parties, or an assortment of parties that show the diversity of opinions within Israel. Educators can also include a mix of serious and funny videos, to share a sense of the creativity used in the campaign ads.
  3. Framing the Discussion: Ask the students to record 1-2 observations they notice when watching each video. What seem to be the priorities of each party? Do they seem right-wing, centrist, or left-wing? What are they wondering about each party?
  4. Reflection: After watching the campaign ads, ask the students to respond to the following prompts:
    • After watching the various campaign ads, which party did you most identify with and why?
    • There seems to be a significant amount of negative campaigning, what people refer to as “attack ads.” If effective, do you think it should be done, or do you think the leaders of the Jewish state should be above this rhetorical approach?
    • What feelings do these campaign videos evoke for you – Pride? Hope? Fear? Trust? Contempt? What feelings do you think the videos aim to stir in people, and what do they actually make you feel?

Campaign Ads:

  1. Likud:
    • Likud Election Ad #1: This ad focuses on how Israel’s national pride needs to be restored, and how currently, “Israel is going backwards”. Only Bibi and the Likud can return Israel to the proud country it is supposed to be.
    • Likud Election Ad #2: This ad juxtaposes Bibi against Lapid and Gatz, regarding their approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “It’s either right-wing or Palestine.”
    • Likud Election Ad #3: Here, Bibi sings the prayer for the IDF soldiers with the IDF choir. Interesting to note that the tune used is “Eretz HaTzvi,” a song about Operation Thunderbolt, in which Yoni Netanyahu, Bibi’s brother, was killed. This video highlights Bibi’s connection to the IDF, his prioritization of security and an emphasis on Jewish tradition. 
  2. Yesh Atid: This ad highlights Yesh Atid’s track record for implementing successful change.
  3. National Unity Party (Hamachane Hamamlachti): This ad uses a Rosh Hashanah theme to promise a “Shana Tova” where it “will be better here” in Israel with the National Unity party.
  4. Religious Zionist Party (HaTzionut Hadatit): (specifically Itamar Ben Gvir): This image uses one of the simanim from Rosh Hashanah, that our enemies should be removed, with pictures of Ayman Odeh, Ahmad Tibi (heads of Hadash-Ta’al, the Arab party), and Ofer Cassif (the only Jewish member of Hadash).
  5. Yahadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism): This jingle for “gimmel” (the symbol for UTJ found on their ballot) begins with a clip of Rosh Hashanah prayers, asking for the downfall of wicked governments (“mamshelet zadon”). The song highlights both the need to stand up for G-d, and to listen to rabbinic leaders (with prominent Ashkenazi rabbinic leaders featured).
  6. Shas:
    • Shas election ad #1: This comedic election ad uses the theme of Sukkot as a way for Aryeh Deri (the Shas leader) to show what he sees as the failures of every other party. 
    • Shas election ad #2: This more serious ad is a spoof of a Lapid campaign ad about him bringing down the price of groceries. A voiceover of the same ad is provided by Aryeh Deri highlighting that the opposite has happened, with the cost of living increasing. The Shas slogan “hungry for a change” highlights their commitment to work on social issues, not just religious ones.
  7. Yisrael Beiteinu: This ad uses a play on words to highlight opposition to any concessions Bibi would make to the Haredi community allowing them to avoid secular studies in their schools. 
  8. Avoda (Labor): This ad focuses on the issue of public transportation on Shabbat, explaining Labor’s motivation as not anti-tradition but in order to create a more inclusive society. 
  9. HaBayit HaYehudi (The Jewish Home): With Selichot in the background, Ayelet Shaked uses a Yom Kippur theme to apologize to her right wing supporters specifically for joining the last unity government, which was not seen as sufficiently right-wing.
  10. Meretz: This ad showcases various right wing politicians in Israel either threatening the left wing or presenting what Meretz considers to be a scary future vision for the country that Meretz argues that they can prevent.
  11. Arab Parties (Hadash-Ta’al, Ra’am, Balad)
    • Hadash-Ta’al: This image shows a promise to keep the Al-Aqsa Mosque an area for Arabs, a response to what they see as provocative visits by groups of Israelis (often religious settlers) and right-wing politicians to the Temple Mount.

Mock Elections Program

Mock Elections Program – Part #1: Choosing a Party (45 mins)

Trigger/Hook: Priorities Survey: (15 minutes)

If you were living in Israel and voting in the upcoming Knesset elections, what would be your top priorities in choosing a party? 

  • Choose your top 3 issues from the list below.
  • What are 3 issues that are not important to you? Explain.
  • Discuss your choices with a partner: Why did you choose these specific issues? 
  • Come back together as a group and have a few students share their top priorities and reasoning.

Issues:

  1. Security: Protecting Israel from Hamas/terrorism, rockets from Gaza, and attacks in the north from Hezbollah, ensuring Iran does not become a nuclear power.
  2. Status of West Bank: (You can choose one approach)
    • Annexing the entire West Bank, building more settlements, preventing a Palestinian state. 
    • Implementing a two-state solution, establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel.
    • Withdrawing from certain areas of the West bank, and annexing Israeli settlements. 
  3. Closing the huge gap between the rich and the poor. Helping poorer citizens (often the elderly, Arabs, and Haredi citizens).
  4. Education: (Choose one approach)
    • Improving the level of secular education in schools. 
    • Making sure every citizen gets a strong Jewish education.
  5. Protecting the rights of Arab-Israeli citizens and non-Jewish minorities, improving social services (better schools, alleviating poverty, crackdown on crime in neighborhoods, better trash pickup).
  6. Economy: Bringing new businesses/start-ups/companies to Israel – creating more jobs in the high tech industry.
  7. Lowering the high cost of living in Israel and providing more affordable and inexpensive housing.
  8. Religion and state issues: Choose one approach
    • Preserving a religious nature for the State of Israel (no public transportation on Shabbat, restaurants stay closed, Rabbanut controls conversions and marriage/divorce)
    • Bridging gap between Religious-Secular, allowing for compromises (some buses run on Shabbat, restaurants can stay open, option for civil marriage without the Rabbanut).

Discussion: Choosing a Party (25 minutes)

  1. Video: (10 minutes) Show your students the Five Elections, Three Years: Inside Israel’s Knesset video to explain how Israel’s parliamentary system works and how the country is governed through a coalition of different parties. Use the Kahoot or the review questions to check for understanding.
  2. Discuss: (15 minutes) Ask your students to respond to one of the following prompts:
    • Would you be more likely to vote for a party that aligned with your values and that had a slim chance of being included in a coalition (and impacting the government) OR a party that didn’t speak to you as much, but would probably be included in a coalition (and have more of an ability to impact the government and its decisions)?
    • How important is the morality or personal values of specific politicians? Would you be willing to ignore more extremist views (see examples here and here) by a politician, if teaming up with that politician (and their voters) could get the party you wanted into the Knesset? What if that politician was under suspicion of bribery or corruption (see here and here)? 

Mock Elections Program – Part #2: Group Instructions

Educator instructions: Students should be given 1-2 class periods to prepare their presentation and 1-2 periods to present. They should hand in their presentation at the end of the preparation period so that the teacher can provide feedback, and students can revise their work before their presentations.

In preparing for our mock election, each group will be assigned an Israeli political party. Each group should prepare the following:

  1. One Pager: A one-page information sheet about your party, to be handed out to the class:
    • Who are the main candidates/party leaders? Are they religious, secular? Jewish or Arab? Right-wing or left-wing?
    • What is their election platform? What are the top issues they want to solve and what ideas do they have? 
    • Please include the party name, logo, and pictures of the main leaders.
  2. Election Videos: Make a 2-3 minute election video for your party. It should convey some of the main messages of this party (you can watch some of their actual videos to get a sense of what they stand for, the messages they are sending to the Israeli public, and who they are attacking…).
  3. Voter Profile: Create a profile of an Israeli citizen who would vote for your candidate. Write a one-paragraph narrative explaining who they are and why this candidate speaks to their values. Make sure to include their name and life details.
    Examples:
    • Young couple who can’t find affordable housing or pay their bills
    • Settler from the West Bank who opposes a Palestinian state
    • Haredi mother of 6 who wants to see the state be more religious and provide more $$ to large families
    • Secular woman from Tel Aviv who wants to end the occupation and allow for a Palestinian state
    • Arab-Israeli citizen frustrated by lack of services in East Jerusalem
    • Sderot couple concerned about rocket attacks and terror tunnels from Gaza
    • Create your own!
  4. Presentations: Be ready to give a brief intro to your video and be able to answer questions as the party candidates. You should also have someone be prepared to be the citizen from your voting profile, who can answer questions about why they are supporting this party.
  5. Voting: After presentations, set up voting booths for students. Teachers should get student volunteers to prepare the blue voting boxes, envelopes, and kalpis, or voting slips. Count the votes and announce the winner! (You can make the learning even more experiential by giving the winning prime minister a certain amount of time to make a coalition with other parties from the class presentations and see if they are successful).
  6. Prizes: Both the group who manages to get their candidate elected AND the group who does the best job presenting, will win a prize.
  7. Guidelines for Group Work: Even when employing the “divide and conquer” approach of splitting up tasks, All members of the group must feel comfortable discussing the questions above and be familiar with both the candidates/party, the issues and the Israeli citizen’s profile. You are all to become experts on this party and be able to answer questions about it. Work as a team! 

Mock Elections Program – Part #3: Resources

Below are articles and videos for each candidate/party that your group can use to learn about your platform. You can also look for other resources on the internet and check out your party’s social media pages (you may have to search their name in Hebrew). 

General resources for all parties:

Info on Parties: Use the links below to find information about each party.

List of parties:

  1. Likud:
    Leader: Bibi Netanyahu 
    Right-Wing
    • I24 Explainer
    • Israel Democracy Institute
    • Likud Election Ad #1: This ad focuses on how Israel’s national pride needs to be restored, and how currently, “Israel is going backwards”. Only Bibi and the Likud can return Israel to the proud country it is supposed to be.
    • Likud Election Ad #2: This ad juxtaposes Bibi against Lapid and Gatz, regarding their approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “It’s either right-wing or Palestine”.
    • Likud Election Ad #3: Here, Bibi sings the prayer for the IDF soldiers with the IDF choir. Interesting to note that the tune used is “Eretz HaTzvi”, a song about Operation Thunderbolt, where Yoni Netanyahu, Bibi’s brother, was killed. This video highlights Bibi’s connection to the IDF and his prioritization of security.
  2. Yesh Atid
    Leader: Yair Lapid
    Centrist
  3. National Unity Party (Hamacheneh Hamamlachti: Combination of Blue+White party and the New Hope party):
    Leaders: Benny Gantz (Blue and White – Centrist), Gideon Sa’ar (New Hope – Right-Wing)
  4. Religious Zionism Party (HaTzionut Hadatit: Combination of HaTzionut HaDatit, Otzmah Yehudit, and Noam)
    Leaders: Itamar Ben-Gvir, Bezalel Smotrich
    Far Right-Wing
  5. United Torah Judaism (Yahadut HaTorah)
    Leaders: Yitzchak Goldknopf, Moshe Gafni
    Right-Wing
  6. Shas (Stands for Shomrei Sefarad – Sephardic Guardians)
    Leader: Arye Dery
    Right-Wing on religion and state issues but Left-wing on economic issues
    • I24 Explainer
    • Israel Democracy Institute
    • Shas election ad #1: This comedic election ad uses the theme of Sukkot as a way for Aryeh Deri (the Shas leader) to show what he sees as the failures of every other party. 
    • Shas election ad #2: This more serious ad is a spoof of a Lapid campaign ad about him bringing down the price of groceries. A voiceover of the same ad is provided by Aryeh Deri highlighting that the opposite has happened, with the cost of living increasing. The Shas slogan “hungry for a change” highlights their commitment to work on social issues, not just religious ones.
  7. Israel Beiteinu (Israel is our Home)
    Leader: Avigdor Lieberman
    Right-Wing on security but Left-Wing on religion and state
  8. Labor (Avoda)
    Leader: Merav Michaeli
    Center-Left
  9. Jewish Home (Habayit HaYehudi)
    Leader: Ayelet Shaked
    Right-Wing
  10. Meretz
    Leader: Zehava Galon
    Left-Wing
  11. Hadash-Ta’al (Arab parties)
    Leaders: Ayman Odeh (Far-Left), Ahmad Tibi (Center-Left)
  12. Ra’am
    Leader: Mansour Abbas
    Left-Wing
  13. Balad
    Leader: Sami Abu Shehadeh
    Extreme Left-Wing

Download the complete guide to access a handout for your students to complete as well as an assessment rubric for mock elections.

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