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Note that the lists of candidates and platforms in this table are in Hebrew.


About the 1959 Elections

The ruling Mapai party reached the election campaign for the Fourth Knesset in a strong position. The economic situation had greatly improved, the population of the State exceeded two million, and the IDF had been victorious in the Sinai Campaign. All these achievements were largely attributed to Mapai, and even more so to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who enjoyed wide-spread popularity at this time. Even the two coalition crises of the Third Knesset (one with the religious parties over the question of “who is a Jew” and the other with Mapam and Ahdut Ha’Avoda over the issue of the sale of weapons to Germany), and the ethnic riots in Wadi Salib, did not manage to erode Ben-Gurion’s popularity. Mapai’s campaign slogan—“say yes to the Old Man”—attests to the widespread popularity and the respect that Ben-Gurion enjoyed among broad sectors of the population.

It is therefore not surprising that the election results of the Fourth Knesset represented the peak of Mapai’s political power: 47 seats (52 with the satellite Arab lists). The second largest party, Herut, with 17 seats, did not endanger Mapai's position, and there was not a single new list among those that entered the Fourth Knesset, a fact attesting to stability. Two religious parties (18 seats), and Mapam (9 seats), preserved their power, while the strength of Ahdut Ha’Avoda (7 seats) and the General Zionists (8 seats) was reduced.

Despite his great electoral success, Ben-Gurion encountered difficulties in forming a government, especially due to internal conflicts within Mapai. The Prime Minister took steps to strengthen the power of the young members, creating disaffection among the veteran leadership. However, despite the opposition of the veterans, Ben-Gurion succeeded in introducing new faces to the Knesset, such as Moshe Dayan, Abba Eban, and Shimon Peres. The coalition that was formed was identical to that of the outgoing Knesset, with a solid majority of 81 MKs from five parliamentary groups: Mapai, NRP, Mapam, Ahdut Ha’Avoda and the Progressives (86 if the five seats of the three satellite Arab lists are counted).

Elections for the 4th Knesset


Number Eligible Voters


Electoral Threshold


Total Votes


Total Votes


Voter Turnout


Party Votes Count Number Of Seats Share Of Votes List Of Candidates Platform
Mapai 370,585 47 38.2 Candidates Candidates
Herut 138,599 17 13.5 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
National Religious Party 95,581 12 9.9 Candidates Candidates
Mapam 69,468 9 7.2 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
General Zionists 59,700 8 6.2 Candidates Candidates
Labor Unity 58,043 7 6.0 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
Religious Torah Front 45,569 6 4.7 Candidates Candidates
Progressive Party 44,889 6 4.6 Candidates Candidates
Maki 27,374 3 2.8 Candidates Candidates
Progress and Development 12,347 2 1.3 Candidates Candidates
Shituf Ve-Ahva 11,104 2 1.1 Candidates Candidates
Agriculture and Development 10,902 1 1.1 Candidates Candidates
Union of North African Immigrants 8,199 - 0.8 Candidates Candidates
Progress and Work 3,561 - 0.5 Candidates Candidates
Independent Faction for Israeli Arabs 3,818 - 0.4 Candidates Candidates
Israeli Arab Labour Party 3,369 - 0.3 Candidates Candidates
Sephardi National Party 3,133 - 0.3 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
Sephardim and Oriental Communities 2,456 - 0.2 Candidates Candidates
Holocaust Handicapped and Injured Faction 1,765 - 0.2 Candidates Candidates
Yemenite Association 1,711 - 0.2 Candidates Candidates
Independents 1,611 - 0.2 Candidates Candidates
Socialist Union (Bund) 1,322 - 0.1 Candidates Candidates
New Immigrants Front 631 - 0.1 Candidates Candidates
Third Power 594 - 0.1 Candidates Candidates