Visualizing the fragmented politics of Israel

Today, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu celebrates his decisive win in the Israeli elections, with 30 seats going to his right-wing Likud party in the next Knesset, Israel’s legislative assembly. Now comes the messy part: forming a ruling government with various fractious parties. To contextualize this most current election, The Economist recently published a visualization that shows the political makeup across time of the Knesset.

Their flow chart reflects the meandering and complicated dynamics of political parties in Israel.


Credit: The Economist.



This kind of visualization is great for conveying the magnitude of a cluster across time. It is by no means new. Rand McNally published a Histomap in 1931 to show the “relative power of contemporary state, nations and empires” across four thousand years. The “Wall Chart of World History” timeline from the late 1800s condenses the history of the world onto one long piece of paper.


Rand McNally’s Histomap.



For the 2012 Presidential election, The New York Times wowed information visualizers with the deployment of an interactive showing how each state voted since 1952.


Credit: The New York Times.



These serpentine charts have been called everything from alluvial diagrams to cluster timelines to Sankey charts. What is clear is their power to convey the dynamics of groups across time.

Aleszu Bajak
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One thought on “Visualizing the fragmented politics of Israel

  1. Sparks, the creator of the 1931 histomap, must have been a Nazi. The ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judea have been literally wiped off the map. But he included such obscure contemporaries at the Hittites and the Amorites. I’ve read at least seven posts about this map and so far, no one has noticed the exclusion. So no Moses. No Abraham. No Solomon. No David. Presumably they weren’t worth mentioning. On the other hand we have the great . . . uh . . . the important. . . OK just name me one unforgettable Hittite.

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