Model Knesset

How it Works

The capstone to Dr. Adam Fuller’s course in Israeli politics (POL 3765) is a Model Knesset (Israeli Parliament).

In the Model Knesset, we simulate a bargaining agreement using mock election results. The simulation has two components: politicians and journalists.

  • Politicians: Each student in the Israeli Politics class is a leader for a different Israeli political party that controls a certain number of Knesset seats. They will then enter into a bargaining process to create a majority coalition and decide on a prime minister.
  • Journalists: Other students from around YSU are recruited to play the role of the press corps covering the negotiations. They are each assigned a different news outlet to represent from Israeli, Palestinian and western media. The news they produce affects the issues dealt with in the bargaining process.

The Model Knesset is an educational event for students and the wider Youngstown community to learn about Israel’s complex political system. An audience is invited to come enjoy Israeli food and watch the students give their opening presentations. For more information about YSU’s Model Knesset, please contact Dr. Adam Fuller at

Check out photos from the Spring 2022 Model Knesset here.

Winning Coalition
The Winning Coalition
From right to left: Jacob Stanko (Likud), Nicholas Spano (Labour), Casey Schwab (Ra’am), Antonio Campolito (Religious Zionist Party),
Ryan Sinopoli (Blue & White), Justin Madura (Shas), Ryan Scherer (United Torah Judaism)

Read coverage of the Spring 2019 Model Knesset from the Cleveland Jewish News here.

Student Reflections

Abigail Kovacs, “From Fact-Finding to Photo-Ops: How I Got to Meet MK Tzipi Livni,” Jewish Journal (July 2018): 2; here.

“Model Knesset is one of the most valuable and politically enriching events that Youngstown State has to offer. Figuring out how to take all the diverse political, social, ethnic, religious, and economic divisions in Israel and bargain to bring them together as one majority genuinely opened my eyes to the intricacies of building a successful coalition. This opportunity allowed me to have a hands-on experience in doing so and the presence of media Dr. Fuller incorporates adds a realistic and unique element that you don’t normally experience in other legislative simulations of this nature. Participating in this event reminded me of how intriguing the political process truly can be.” – Kristen Howell (Likud leader, 2019)

“Serving as a member of the press corps covering the Model Knesset was a truly engaging and captivating experience. In my opinion, aside from being present at the actual Knesset negotiations in Jerusalem, there is no better way to provide students with a realistic view into the dynamic and quite complex nature of Israeli politics. The press involvement requires the students serving as party leaders to be cognizant of both internal discussions as well as external influences, which can have a significant impact on the prospects of forming a viable coalition government. I strongly encourage all interested Youngstown State University students to take part in this worthwhile simulation!” – Moataz Abdelrasoul (Ha’aretz reporter, 2019)

“Dr. Fuller’s Model Knesset showed me firsthand how complicated forming a government in Israel is. One must navigate through the competing interests of both opposing and allied parties to maximize the influence of one’s own faction. I got a better sense of how minor parties are able to hold larger parties accountable in a parliamentary system. If you want to get a better sense of how the Knesset works, this event is perfect for you!” – Taylor Christian (Yesh Atid leader, 2017)

“Representing the Likud in the first Model Knesset was one of the highlights of my collegiate experiences. Israeli history and politics are extremely complex and Dr. Fuller perfectly captured that understanding within his class. However, no amount of discourse could compare to the educational value of being a part of the Model Knesset and for that this is more than just another class. Learning by doing and perhaps even representing a position that may not be compatible with your own is incredibly beneficial. It is difficult to leave Israeli Politics class without seeing these complex issues from multiple perspectives, thanks in large part to the Model Knesset.” (Sydney Vegoda Hovis, Likud leader, 2017)

“The Model Knesset is an incredible lesson in understanding the political landscape of Israel. During my experience at the first Model Knesset YSU held I portrayed the Jewish Home party, that of current prime minister Naftali Bennett. Beyond its ability to help me gain an understanding of Israeli politics, it also drives me to continue following developments in the country to this day.  It’s a rather unique opportunity to YSU and an incredible program.” (Dylan Edwards, The Jewish Home leader, 2017)

“Preparing and participating in Model Knesset is one of the most enjoyable, unbiased, and informative ways to educate students about the formation and function of the Israeli parliament. My personal participation in Model Knesset greatly expanded my knowledge and understanding of how divisions within the political, social, ethnic, religious, and economic structure in Israel ultimately influence the formation and function of its government. I firmly believe that in addition to the targeted goal of learning about Israeli politics and government, participation in Model Knesset also helps students develop leadership, research, public speaking, and problem-solving skills. Developing solutions in simulation that are acceptable to a majority of representatives is a tedious task, which also inculcates skills of negotiation, conflict resolution, and cooperation for students.” – Antonette Scharsu (Hadash leader, 2017)