Does the Israeli political system confuse you? Here is a detailed look at how the parties function.

Feb. 22 is the deadline for parties vying for seats in Israel’s Knesset to submit their lists of candidates to the Central Election Committee. The following is a description of the methods the various parties use to determine their candidate lists, though in some cases details are limited.

Generally speaking, party lists are determined either by primary elections (with the right to vote given to registered members) or by selection by the party’s chairperson, religious leader or central committee. The primary method was first introduced by Labor in 1992 and has been adopted by other parties.

Ahead of the upcoming elections, six parties will hold primaries: Likud, Labor, Meretz, National Union, Hadash and Balad.

Primaries:

Likud
➢ Primaries to be held Feb. 5, open to all party members registered 16 months beforehand; approximately 110,000 members eligible to vote
➢ Benjamin Netanyahu is the party’s candidate for prime minister, meaning that the primary winners will be allocated as of slot 2
➢ Netanyahu will be permitted to reserve the 21st slot and may be able to reserve another; at least one slot in every 10 must be held by a woman; slot 25th reserved for a female newcomer. Other reserved slots: the 28th for a new immigrant; the 30th for a Knesset newcomer; the 32nd for a newcomer under age 35; and positions 19, 21, 22, 26, 29, 34, 36 for district representatives.

Labor
➢ Primaries to be held Feb. 11, some 60,000 members eligible to vote
➢ Avi Gabbay elected to lead (July 10, 2017), meaning that the primary winners will be allocated as of slot 2
➢ At least three slots in every 10 must be held by a woman; other slots reserved for party secretary general and representatives of community sectors

Meretz
➢ Primaries to be held Jan. 14, open to all party members registered by Jan. 13 (for the first time)
➢ Knesset member Tamar Zandberg will lead the party following her election (March 22), meaning that the primary winners will be allocated as of slot 2
➢ 40 percent gender equality ensured

National Union, usually absorbed into Jewish Home
➢ Primaries held Jan. 14, elected Knesset member Betzalel Smotrich chair

*Hadash (The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality)
➢ 1,000 committee members to vote in the party primaries to be held Feb. 1

*Balad (National Democratic Assembly)
➢ Central Committee to vote Feb. 2 after Knesset member Jamal Zahalka stepped down

Other methods:
Yesh Atid
➢ List compiled by Knesset member Yair Lapid, who will lead the party until at least after the 22nd Knesset

Hosen L’Yisrael (Israel’s Resilience)
➢ List compiled by an internal committee; headed by former Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, for the first five years of the party’s existence (established Dec. 27, 2018), after which primaries (through a general assembly) are to be held every four years

Kulanu
➢ List compiled by Minister Moshe Kahlon, who will lead the party until at least after the 21st Knesset
➢ Four leading members left the party in recent weeks.

Gesher
➢ List compiled by an internal committee; headed by Knesset member Orly Levi-Abekasis for the coming Knesset

Yisrael Beitenu
➢ List compiled by an internal committee appointed by party leader Knesset member Avigdor Lieberman, despite a platform clause that calls for primaries every five years

**Shas
➢ List compiled by their religious leaders, list currently led by Minister Aryeh Deri

**United Torah Judaism:
Degel Hatorah, usually absorbed into United Torah Judaism
➢ List compiled by their religious leaders, list currently led by Knesset member Moshe Gafni; Agudath Israel, usually absorbed into United Torah Judaism
➢ List compiled by their religious leaders, currently led by Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman

Jewish Home
➢ Deputy Minister Eli Ben Dahan to head a list compiled by committee
➢ Prior to Bennett-Shaked split, three of first 10 slots reserved for women

The New Right
➢ List compiled and headed by Ministers Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett

*Ra’am (United Arab List, affiliated with Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement)
➢ Dr. Mansour Abbas to lead party following appointment by general assembly in the summer

*Ta’al (Arab Movement for Renewal)
➢ Central Committee to appoint the list, led by Knesset member Ahmad Tibi, who broke off from the alliance (Jan. 8) and must decide if he will lead the party again or run independently

Hatnua
➢ Knesset member Tzipi Livni, currently head of the party, must decide whether to run with the list independently or join forces with another

Parties unlikely to pass threshold, according to polls, whose lists are formulated by internal committee:
Ahi Israeli (Adina Bar Shalom)
Magen Israel (Gal Hirsch)
Telem (Moshe Ya’alon)
Yachad (Eli Yishai)
Zehut (Moshe Feiglin)

*Parties that ahead of the 20th Knesset formed the Joint Arab List, must decide whether they are forming another alliance
**Haredi parties are currently in negotiations to run together