Orly Levy
Date of birth (1973-11-11) 11 November 1973 (age 47)
Place of birthBeit She'an, Israel
Knessets18, 19, 20, 22, 23
Faction represented in Knesset
2009–2017Yisrael Beiteinu
Ministerial roles
2020–Minister for Community Empowerment and Advancement

Orly Levy-Abekasis (Hebrew: אורלי לוי-אבקסיס‎, born 11 November 1973) is an Israeli politician. She is a member of the Knesset for Gesher. Levy entered the Knesset in 2009 as a representative of Yisrael Beiteinu, but left the party in 2017 to sit as an independent. In 2019, she formed her own party, Gesher, to contest the April 2019 elections. Although the party failed to win a seat, she returned to the Knesset following the September 2019 elections, in which Gesher ran together with the Labor Party. On May 2020 she was appointed by Prime Minister Netanyahu as the newly created Minister for Community Empowerment and Advancement.[1]


Orly Levy was born in Beit She'an, the ninth of twelve children of Moroccan-born former Foreign Affairs Minister David Levy.[2] She did her national service in the Israeli Air Force, and later earned a law degree at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.[3][4]

Levy is married, and has four children. She lives in Kibbutz Mesilot.[4] Her brother Jackie served as mayor of Beit She'an for the Likud.[2][3]

Media and fashion career

Levy worked as a model and a local television host,[5] before following her father into politics.[6]

Political career

For the 2009 elections, Levy was placed sixth on the Yisrael Beiteinu list,[7] and entered the Knesset after the party won fifteen seats. During her first term, she served as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.[8] For the 2013 elections, Levy was placed 16th on the Likud Yisrael Beiteinu list, and entered the Knesset after the party won 31 seats. She was re-appointed Chair of the Committee of the Rights of the Child.[8] In January 2015, it was announced that she would be second on the Yisrael Beiteinu list for the March 2015 elections.[3]

In May 2016, she announced she was quitting Yisrael Beiteinu due to the lack of attention to social affairs in the party's negotiations over joining the coalition government.[9] She officially became an independent MK on 15 March 2017.[10] Due to leaving Yisrael Beiteinu during a Knesset term, she was limited by Knesset protocol from running for the next elections.[11] As a result, in March 2018, she announced plans to form a new party.[12]

In December 2018, the party was named Gesher, reviving the name of the party founded by her father in 1996.[13] In the April 2019 elections, the new party failed to cross the electoral threshold.[14] However, after a failure to form a new government, the newly elected Knesset voted to dissolve itself in May 2019, and snap elections were called for September.[15] On 18 July, Gesher agreed to form an electoral alliance with Labor,[16] with Levy placed second on the joint list.[17] She returned to the Knesset as the alliance won six seats.

Views and opinions

Levy's political views are primarily focused on social issues and issues of economic justice. Whilst a member of Yisrael Beiteinu, she was one of two members of the governing coalition to abstain from the controversial Nation State Law.

See also


  1. ^ TOI Staff (14 May 2020). "Gesher's Levy-Abekasis joins coalition, to head newly created ministry". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2020-05-14.
  2. ^ a b מפתיעת הסקרים. Mishpacha (in Hebrew) (1354). April 26, 2018. p. 24.
  3. ^ a b c Harkov, Lahav (17 January 2015). "Levy-Abecasis gets a boost as Shamir leaves Yisrael Beytenu". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Orly Levi-Abekasis: Particulars". knesset.gov.il. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  5. ^ Maltz, Judy (16 January 2019). "The Former TV and Fashion Star Who Could Be Israel's Next Kingmaker". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  6. ^ Peraino, Kevin (7 February 2009). "An Israeli Supermodel's Bid For Knesset". Newsweek. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  7. ^ JTA Staff (February 2, 2009). "The party lists for Feb. 10". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Orly Levi-Abekasis: Knesset Activities". knesset.gov.il. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  9. ^ Harkov, Lahav (May 19, 2016). "Levy-Abecasis leaves Yisrael Beytenu amid coalition talks". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  10. ^ "Mergers and Splits Among Parliamentary Groups". knesset.gov.il. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  11. ^ Azulay, Moran; Tzuri, Matan (3 June 2018). "Orly Levy-Abekasis announces new political party". Ynetnews. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Yisrael Beytenu rebel announces formation of new party". The Times of Israel. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  13. ^ "Orly Levy-Abekasis forms her own party ahead of April elections". The Jerusalem Post. 25 December 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  14. ^ Hoffman, Gil (10 April 2019). "Kulanu stays in Knesset, Gesher out". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  15. ^ Gil Hoffman; Lahav Harkov (30 May 2019). "Israel goes back to elections as Netanyahu fails to form coalition". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  16. ^ Gil Hoffman; Jeremy Sharon; Tamar Beeri (18 July 2019). "Labor nabs Orly Levy-Abekasis, Left joint list called off". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  17. ^ "All the Candidates Running in Israel's September Do-over Election". Haaretz. 2 August 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2019.