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From Kaf-Tet to Shloshim
 
 
 
   
 

Backgrounder 1

Party Profiles

13th Knesset Party Line-up


Labor 42
Backbone of government
Likud 32
Opposition
Meretz 12
Left of Labor, in government coalition
Tsomet [see also: Yi'ud] 8
Right of Likud
Moledet 3
Right of Tzomet
NRP 6
National Religious Party, Zionist, hawkish
Torah Party 4
Ultra-orthodox, ashkenazi, hawkish
SHAS 6
Ultra-orthodox, sephardi, flexible?
Arab Democratic Party, Hadash & Progressive List for Peace a 5
Left-wing

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Party Profiles - 13th Knesset

Please refer to the Knesset faction list in the previous file. These profiles are based on materials issued in 1992-3, partly updated - and you should feel free to update them as much as necessary.

Below please find the party profiles in outline. If you are interested in more detailed materials for other activities, the Bibliography at the end of the file should be useful.
Note: Knesset factions are presented in alphabetical order!

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    • Arab Democratic Party {C}


      Background:
      Founded 1988 by MK Abdul Darawshe, formerly Labor, together with heads & members of Arab local councils in Israel, heads of religious communities, intellectuals and businessmen. Primary goal: pursue peace in the region and assure equal rights for Israel's Arab minority.
      Policy:

      1. Resolution of Israeli-Palestinian problem with a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza will resolve the core of the Middle East conflict.

      2. The new state will not have an army and could eventually confederate with Israel & Jordan.

      3. United Jerusalem as capital of Israel and Palestinian state.

      4. Israeli Arabs should continue to live in Israel, while a "limited" number of Israeli Jews would remain in the new Palestinian state.

      [See also: Progressive List for peace & Hadash]



    • Hadash - Democratic Front for Peace and Equality


      Background:
      Merger 1988, of Israeli Communist Party [founded 1919], which is joint Arab-Jewish, and some non-communist Arab organizations, especially the Nazareth city Democratic Front.
      Policy:

      1. 2-state solution to Arab-Israeli conflict, based on 1947 Partition UN plan, as best means of ensuring Israel's security and development, because the occupation will end, i.e. Israel must return all territory gained in 1967... {C}

      2. Supports peace process and any interim solutions within it. Pro-PLO. {C}

      3. Immediate withdrawal of Israeli Army and settlers from crucial areas and immediate settlement freeze. {C}

      4. Complete separation of "religion and state"; party sees itself as buffer against Islamic fundamentalism, anti-religion. {C}

      5. Supports current electoral system; against "demagogy and populism". {C}

      6. Supports and defends Arab rights in Israel.

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    • Labor {C}


      Background:
      Founded 1968 through merger of previously dominant Mapai party with Rafi and Ahdut Ha'avodah; aligned with Mapam from 1968-84, when known as the "Alignment". Became the "Israeli Labor Party" in 1984.
      Policy:

      1. Principle of "territorial compromise" as a basis for "resolving the conflict".

      2. Supports "a freeze on settlements". Settlement status will be negotiated at a later stage.

      3. Does not support returning all land, nor a Palestinian state, but "some adjustments to the 1967 borders" and "political control" to a Palestinian "entity".

      4. Jerusalem is the indivisible, capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, including eastern neighborhoods, with special status accorded places holy to Islam and Christianity.

      5. Secure, defensible borders.

      6. Will negotiate with Palestinians or states recognizing Israel and renouncing terrorism.



    • Likud - Unity


      Background:
      Merger of several parties, including dominant Herut [Freedom] party founded by Zeev Jabotinsky, General Zionists and Liberals. First joined National Unity Government in 1967, before the Six Day War. After 29 years of Labor rule, Likud came to power under the late Menachem Begin in 1977 and joined subsequent coalition governments from 1984-1992.
      Policy:

      1. General principle of negotiability in bilateral negotiations for peace, but opposes territorial compromise and freezing settlements in the West Bank, to which Israel has a right.

      2. Supports interim self-governing arrangements towards full Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza, but opposes any territorial partition or new state there. Will not talk with the PLO.

      3. Respects the "status quo regarding religion and state", constitution and electoral reform.

      4. Jerusalem is the eternal, indivisible capital of Israel; members of all faiths will always have free access to their holy places.



    • Meretz


      Background:
      Lit: "Energy". Formed by 1992 merger of 3 parties: Ratz [Citizens' Rights Movement], Mapam [Israeli Workers' Party], Shinui [Change]. The move came from unity of views on the peace process, although positions on economic issues cary.
      Policy:

      1. Full autonomy for Palestinians in the territories is an immediate goal on the road to a final and lasting peace agreement, based on UN resolution 242 [peace for territories], whether leading to a Palestinian state, federation or confederation with Jordan.

      2. Continued settlements endanger the current peace negotiations; this activity should be ceased.

      3. The Palestinians and Israel both have a right to self-determination; recognition of and respect for this right is the basiss of a solution to the Arab-Israel conflict.

      4. Jerusalem is Israel's indivisible capital, but its final status must take into account its special national and religious characteristics. {C}

      5. Separation of religion and state; equal status for all streams of Judaism. {C}

      6. Electoral reforms.

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    • Moledet {C}

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        • Population transfer is a precondition for peace negotiations with any Arab country. It is the only humane and just solution. {C}

        • The West Bank and Gaza should be annexed into Israel; settlement should continue, while all remaining Arabs should become full citizens of Israel - with all the ensuing obligations. {C}

        • No reduction in territorial dimensions; no Arab national entity to be established west of the River Jordan in the Land of Israel. We are negotiating "peace for peace".
      Background:
      Lit: "Homeland". Founded 1988 by former IDF general, Rehav'am Ze'evi. Goal: idea of transferring Palestinians to the territories to Arab states [to preclude the existence of a largely binational state].
      Policy: {C}

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    • Mafdal - National Religious Party {C}

      1. Supports direct, bilateral negotiations with Arab states.

      2. Believes the territories are part of the biblical Land of Israel and provide security for the state. They are important as part of the Zionist concept. Therefore supports settlements.*

      3. Opposes creation of a Palestinian state.

      4. Supports the religious status quo; opposes separation of religion and state. Recognizes only orthodox halachic rulings, wishes to amend Law of Return to enforce this with respect to immigrant conversions to Judaism.

      5. *As of November 1995, due to the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin, the Mafdal is moving towards acceptance of existing agreements with the Palestinians, in all their implications, although it questions the future path of negotiations.
      Background:
      Promotes combination of orthodox Judaism and Zionism since early 1920s and served as coalition partner of Mapai-led governments from 1948-1977. In 1977, the Mafdal's coalition with the Likud ended 29 years of Labor government; until 1992, it joined all governments as part of the Coalition or National Unity Government.
      Policy:



    • Progressive List for Peace

      1. Israeli Arabs are simultaneously part of the Palestinian people and citizens of Israel.

      2. Works with "progressive Jewish forces" to promote peace; Israeli Arabs are a "bridge to peace".

      3. The PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

      4. Creation of a Palestinian state between Israel and the Jordan river. Jerusalem should be capital of both states.

      5. Protect and promote Arab rights in Israel.

      6. Separation of religion and state.
      Background:
      Generally similar to Arab Democratic Party [q.v.]. Founded 1984 by Arab academics; party includes Arabs and Jews.
      Policy:



    • Shas


      Background:
      Sephardi "Torah Guardians", founded early 1970s, led by [former] Sephardi Chief Rabbi and spiritual figure, Rabbi Ovadia Yossef; first elected to Knesset in 1984.
      Policy:

      1. Supports Talmudic precept of supreme value of preserving life and therefore amenable to territorial compromise if it would bring true peace.

      2. Supports autonomy for Palestinians, but opposes a Palestinian state.

      3. Supports existing settlements, but would agree to freeze expansion of settlement activity in the territories.

      4. Supports the religious status quo, but would like to see a "Jewish state in every way". Opposes additional religious legislation or legislation impinging on "freedom of the religious".

      5. No negotiation with the PLO or any Arab terrorist organization.

      6. Separation of religion from politics; respects the status quo on religious affairs, but everyone should do military or public service.



    • Tsomet


      Background:
      Lit: crossroads. Founded 1983 by former IDF Chief-of-Staff Rafael Eitan within the Tehiya Party, as an ideological movement and 1988 became a separate party.
      Policy

      1. Believes in pursuit of peace, but opposed to territorial compromise for security and secular, nationalistic reasons; Israel should annex Judea, Samaria and Gaza as part of the Land of Israel.

      2. The Palestinians in the territories should be offered a very limited, municipal autonomy.

      3. Arab refugees in and from the territories should be resettled in Arab countries.

      4. Promotes Jewish settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

      5. Separation of religion and state; religious dispute should be resolved by dialogue.

      6. Supports electoral reform.



    • United Torah Judaism


      Background:
      A 1988 election merger of three existing ultra-orthodox parties: Agudat Yisrael, Degel HaTorah and Moriah, representing religious factions in Israel, Europe and the USA. Predominantly Ashkenazi, the party is led by spiritual figure, Rabbi Shach.
      Policy:

      1. All domestic and foreign policies should be based in Torah law. Different members of the party support either the religious status quo or the passing of more religious legislation, primarily in the area of the Law of Return and personal status.

      2. Supports the current peace process.

      3. Has no stand on settlements or borders, which should be resolved as part of negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.



    • Yi'ud {C}


      Background:
      Split from Tsomet after 1992 elections and again in in 1994, two members [of 3 MKs] entered the government coalition. It is now in a renewed state of flux.
      Policy:
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        • More moderate than Tsomet, with slightly greater flexibility on territorial issues, without an "annexation" platform. {C}

        • Different to Tsomet in that they have no "population transfer" platform.

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Bibliography

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    • "A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED: Israeli Elections and Coalition Scenarios 1992", Dr. Ronald Kronish and Neil A. Cooper, Israel Offices, American Jewish Committee, Jerusalem, June 1992. {C}

    • in "NEW OUTLOOK", May/June 1992, "Elections in Israel: Political Party Platforms", pp.15-17. {C}

    • "THE CAMPUS ISRAELI ELECTION GUIDE", USD/AZYF, Israel Action Center, New York, 1992. {C}

    • "THE YALE MODEL ISRAELI KNESSET", Yale Friends of Israel in conjunction with USD/AZYF, Israel Action Center, Yale 1992.

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    Created: December 26th, 95{C}

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29 Sep 2005 / 25 Elul 5765 0