Note that the lists of candidates and platforms in this table are in Hebrew.
About the 1949 Elections
The first elections for the government of the State of Israel were scheduled to take place in October 1948, but were postponed for three months due to the on-going battles of the War of Independence. In fact, these were not elections for the Knesset, but for the Constituent Assembly, which, in accordance with Israel's Declaration of Independence, was intended to prepare a constitution for the new state. The Constituent Assembly was soon renamed the First Knesset. Due to fundamental differences of opinion, the First Knesset never succeeded in preparing a Constitution; in 1951 it was decided to enact basic laws on each topic separately, which would be combined into a constitution once all of them were enacted.
The elections for the Constituent Assembly were an important test for the political forces that had operated during the period of the Yishuv (the organized Jewish community during the pre-State period of the British Mandate). The last elections for the institutions of the Yishuv had been held five years earlier, and the electorate had nearly doubled since then. Consequently, there was a great deal of uncertainty about the outcome of the elections. The main struggle in this election was between two workers' parties—Mapai and Mapam— which differed on many ideological counts. Mapai had a pro-Western orientation, whereas Mapam was pro-Soviet. Issues of religion and state, attitudes toward the Arab minority, and socio-economic issues also emerged in the election campaign.
Of the 21 lists that ran in the elections, 12 entered the Knesset. Mapai received 46 Knesset seats, and became the dominant political power. Mapam received 19 seats, while Herut, which had emerged from the Etzel (IZL) underground movement, received 14. The performance of the liberal General Zionists was disappointing, and it received only seven seats.
Although Mapai leader David Ben-Gurion could have formed a left-wing government, he preferred to leave Mapam out of the government and to lay the foundations for cooperation with the religious bloc, which was made up of four separate parties that had run on a single list in this election. The coalition enjoyed the support of 73 Members of Knesset (MKs) from five parties: Mapai, the United Religious Front, the Progressives, the Sepharadim and Oriental Communities list (Sepharadim Ve’Edot HaMizrah), and the Democratic List of Nazareth, an Arab minority party affiliated with Mapai. There were 13 ministers in the government. Ben-Gurion formed a second government, with minor ministerial changes in November 1950.
The Elections for the Constituent Assembly
Number Eligible Voters
|Party||Votes Count||Number Of Seats||Share Of Votes||List Of Candidates||Platform|
|United Religious Front||52,982||16||12.2||Candidates|
|Sephardim and Oriental Communities||15,287||4||3.5||Candidates|
|Democratic List of Nazareth||7,387||2||1.7||Candidates|
|Popular Arab Bloc||2,812||-||0.7||Candidates|
|Working and Religious Women||2,796||-||0.7||Candidates|
|Yitzhak Gruenbaum List||2,514||-||0.6||Candidates|
|United List of Religious Workers||1,280||-||0.3||Candidates|
|Traditional Judaism List||241||-||0.1||Candidates|