The Info List - Politics Of Israel

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Politics in Israel
is dominated by Zionist
parties. They traditionally fall into three camps, the first two being the largest: Labor Zionism (social democrat), Revisionist Zionism
Revisionist Zionism
(conservative) and Religious Zionism. There are also several non- Zionist
Orthodox religious parties, non- Zionist
left-wing groups, as well as non- Zionist
and anti- Zionist
Israeli Arab
Israeli Arab


1 Political conditions 2 Prime Ministers and governments since 1996

2.1 Netanyahu (1996–1999) 2.2 Barak (1999–2001) 2.3 Sharon (2001–2006) 2.4 Olmert (2006–2009) 2.5 Netanyahu (2009–present)

3 Political parties and elections 4 Other political groups

4.1 Political right 4.2 Political left 4.3 Political centre 4.4 Interest groups 4.5 Others

5 Political issues 6 See also 7 References

Political conditions[edit]

Parliament of Israel.

Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel
from 1969 to 1974, once joked that "in Israel, there are 3 million prime ministers".[1] The particular version of proportional representation used, in which the whole country is a single constituency, encourages the formation of a large number of political parties, many with very specialized platforms, and often advocating the tenets of particular interest-groups.[citation needed] The prevalent balance[citation needed] between the largest parties means that the smaller parties can have strong influence disproportionate to their size. Due to their ability to act as tie breakers, they often use this status to block legislation or promote their own agenda, even contrary to the manifesto of the larger party in office. From the founding of Israel
in 1948 until the election of May 1977, Israel
was ruled by successive coalition governments led by the Labor Alignment (or Mapai
prior to 1967). From 1967 to 1970, a national unity government included all of Israel's parties except for the two factions of the Communist Party of Israel. After the 1977 election, the Revisionist Zionist
bloc (then composed of Herut, the Liberals, and the smaller La'am Party) came to power, forming a coalition with the National Religious Party, Agudat Israel, and with others. The 2013 Freedom in the World
Freedom in the World
annual survey and report by U.S.-based Freedom House, which attempts to measure the degree of democracy and political freedom in every nation, ranked Israel
as the Middle East and North Africa’s only free country.[2] In 2016 the Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Israel
as "flawed democracy". [3] Prime Ministers and governments since 1996[edit] Main articles: Prime Minister of Israel
and History of Israel Netanyahu (1996–1999)[edit] In those elections – the first direct election of a prime minister in Israeli history – Likud
leader Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
won by a narrow margin, having sharply criticized the government's peace policies for failing to protect Israeli security. Netanyahu subsequently formed a predominantly right-wing coalition government publicly committed to pursuing the Oslo Accords, but with an emphasis on security first and reciprocity. His coalition included the Likud
party, allied with the Tzomet and Gesher parties in a single list; three religious parties (Shas, the National Religious Party, and the United Torah
Judaism bloc); and two centrist parties, The Third Way and Yisrael BaAliyah. The latter was the first significant party formed expressly to represent the interests of Israel's new Russian immigrants. The Gesher party withdrew from the coalition in January 1998 upon the resignation of its leader, David Levy, from the position of Foreign Minister. Barak (1999–2001)[edit]

Office of the President of Israel
in 2007.

On 27 May 1999, Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
from One Israel
(an alliance of Labor, Meimad and Gesher) was elected Prime Minister, and formed a coalition with the Centre Party (a new party with centrist views, led by former generals Yitzhak Mordechai
Yitzhak Mordechai
and Amnon Lipkin-Shahak), the left-wing Meretz, Yisrael BaAliyah, the religious Shas
and the National Religious Party. The coalition was committed to continuing negotiations; however, during the two years of the government's existence, most parties left the coalition, leaving Barak with a minority government of the Labor and the center party alone. Barak was forced to call for early elections, the only prime ministerial elections not held alongside Knesset
elections. Sharon (2001–2006)[edit] On 17 February 2001, elections resulted in a new "national unity" coalition government, led by Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
of the Likud, and including the Labor Party. This government fell when Labor pulled out, and new elections were held 28 January 2003. Based on the election results, Sharon was able to form a right-wing government consisting of the Likud, Shinui, the National Religious Party and the National Union. The coalition focused on improving Israeli security through fighting against terror, along with combating economic depression. However, when Sharon decided on his 2004 disengagement plan, which included evacuation of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
(particularly the Gaza Strip), the National Union and National Religious Party withdrew from the coalition. Sharon's attempt to add the Haredi
United Torah Judaism
United Torah Judaism
to the coalition drove Shinui out, and forced Sharon to bring the Labor Party back into his coalition. Since not all Likud
members supported Sharon's disengagement plan, he still lacked a clear majority in the Knesset. Apparently calculating that his personal popularity was greater than that of the party, Sharon pulled out of the Likud
on 21 November 2005 and formed his own new Kadima
party. He was joined only days later by Shimon Peres, who pulled out of the Labor party to join Sharon in a bid for a new government. This represented a cataclysmic realignment in Israeli politics, with the former right and left joining in a new centrist party with strong support (unlike previous centrist parties in Israel, which lacked the popularity Kadima
now seemed to enjoy). Olmert (2006–2009)[edit]

Wikinews has related news: Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
discusses the future of Israel

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On 4 January 2006 Prime Minister Sharon suffered a massive stroke and went into a coma, and subsequently died in 2014.[4] Designated Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
took power, becoming interim Prime Minister 100 days after Sharon's incapacitation. He did not become full Prime Minister due to elections being held in March and a new government being formed. Following the March 2006 elections, which left Kadima
as the largest party in the Knesset, Olmert became prime minister. He included Labour, Shas
and Gil in a 67-seat coalition. In November 2006, Yisrael Beiteinu (11 seats) also joined the government, but departed from the coalition in January 2008. Faced with internal opposition due to mounting corruption charges, Olmert announced that he would not seek reelection in the next elections held in February 2009. Tzipi Livni won the September 2008 Kadima
leadership elections, but failed to form a new coalition government. Netanyahu (2009–present)[edit] On 31 March 2009 the Knesset
approved the appointment of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister, despite Kadima
having won slightly more votes than Netanyahu's Likud. Netanyahu's government took office the following day, 1 April 2009. On 19 March 2013 Netanyahu was designated Prime Minister again after Likud
Yisrael Beiteinu
Yisrael Beiteinu
won the most seats in the January elections. The new coalition included the Yesh Atid, the Jewish Home and Hatnuah parties, and excluded ultra-Orthodox parties. Netanyahu achieved reelection to the national post on 18 March 2015, and subsequently formed a governing coalition with Likud
at the forefront, which included the Jewish Home, Kulanu, Shas
and United Torah
Judaism. Political parties and elections[edit] For other political parties, see List of political parties in Israel. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Israel. Main article: Israeli legislative election, 2015 Compared to other countries, the number of parties contesting Knesset elections is relatively high considering the population size. This has resulted in a fragmented legislature where smaller parties have representation in the Knesset
and no party has the 60+ seat majority needed to form a Government on its own. This system also allows fringe parties which hold views outside of the mainstream political and public consensus to have representation in the Knesset. Examples of these are the Haredi
religious parties, parties that represent the national religious or limited agenda parties such as Gil, which represented pensioners in the 2006 elections.

Wikinews has related news: Israelis
re-elect Netanyahu, centre-left rises

Party Votes % Seats +/–

Likud 985,408 23.40 30 +12

Union 786,313 18.67 24 +3a

Joint List 446,583 10.61 13 +2b

Yesh Atid 371,602 8.82 11 –8

Kulanu 315,360 7.49 10 New

The Jewish Home 283,910 6.74 8 –4

Shas 241,613 5.74 7 –4

Yisrael Beiteinu 214,906 5.10 6 –7

United Torah
Judaism 210,143 4.99 6 –1

Meretz 165,529 3.93 5 –1

Yachad 125,158 2.97 0 New

Ale Yarok 47,180 1.12 0 0

Arab List 4,301 0.11 0 New

The Greens 2,992 0.07 0 0

We are all friends Na Nach 2,493 0.06 0 0

U'Bizchutan 1,802 0.04 0 New

Hope for Change 1,385 0.03 0 0

Pirate Party of Israel 895 0.02 0 0

Flower Party 823 0.02 0 New

Brit Olam 761 0.02 0 0

Or 502 0.01 0 0

Living with Dignity 423 0.01 0 0

Economy Party 337 0.01 0 0

Democratura 242 0.01 0 New

Social Leadership 223 0.01 0 0

Invalid/blank votes 43,854 – – –

Total 4,254,738 100 120 –

Registered voters/turnout 5,881,696 72.34 – –

Source: CEC[permanent dead link]

Other political groups[edit] Israeli politics are subject to unique circumstances and often defy simple classification in terms of the political spectrum. Groups are sometimes associated with the political left or right, especially in international circles, according to their stance on issues important to the Arab–Israeli conflict. Political right[edit] On the political right:

Gush Emunim, Israeli nationalists advocating Jewish populating (a.k.a. settlement) of Judea & Samaria, a.k.a. West Bank
West Bank
(and formerly of the Gaza Strip), and opposing evacuation of any of these communities. (Largely defunct) Yesha Council (Yesha being a Hebrew acronym for "Judea Samaria Gaza"), a loose formation of local office-bearers in the Occupied Territories who represent the interests of the Israeli settlers in the West Bank. . They have high influence through strong organization and highly motivated communities. Almagor: an association of terror victims. Professors for a Strong Israel

Political left[edit] On the political left:

Peace Now
Peace Now
supports territorial concessions in the West Bank
West Bank
and was critical of government's policy in withdrawing from Lebanon after the 1982–1986 war and the subsequent withdrawal from South Lebanon. Geneva Initiative
Geneva Initiative
and The People's Voice (HaMifkad HaLeumi), two peace initiatives led by prominent Israeli and Palestinian public figures that surfaced in 2004. These initiatives were based on unofficial bilateral understandings between the two sides, and offer models for a permanent agreement. Ha Histadrut
("The Union"; short for "the General Union of the Workers in Israel"), an umbrella organization for many labor unions in Israel. In the past, was identified with the different forms of the Israel Labor party; nowadays, the chairman of the Histadrut
is Offer Eyni. The former chairman Amir Peretz
Amir Peretz
became head of the socialist One Nation party, which eventually merged into Labor in 2004, which Peretz led from November 2005 to June 2007. Several radical left-wing organizations calling soldiers to refuse service in the West Bank
West Bank
and Gaza; the best known are Ometz LeSarev ("Courage to Refuse") and Yesh Gvul (There's a limit/border). Ma'avak Sotzialisti
Ma'avak Sotzialisti
(Socialist Struggle) campaigns against privatisation and the worsening conditions faced by workers and young people in Israel.

Left-leaning politics are traditionally supported by Israel's academic, cultural, and business elites, as well as its security establishment.[5][6] Political centre[edit] In the Political centre: The political centre (represented in Knesset
by Yesh Atid
Yesh Atid
and Kulanu, and in the past represented by Kadima
and Gil) combines the Israeli right's lack of confidence in the value of negotiations with the Palestinians and the Arab states with the assertion of the Israeli left that Israel
should reduce the Israeli presence in the areas of the West Bank. As a result of that, the Political centre
Political centre
supports unilateral actions such as the Israeli West Bank barrier
Israeli West Bank barrier
and Israel's unilateral disengagement plan alongside the continuation of militaristic actions (such as the Selective assassination
Selective assassination
policy) as a means of fighting against terrorism. Economically, the centre is liberal and supports Economic liberalism
Economic liberalism
and has a capitalistic approach. Until recently, the Political centre
Political centre
in the Knesset
was relatively small—it never won more than 15 seats on average and centre parties tended to disintegrate within less than two terms (for example: Democratic Movement for Change, the Centre Party and Shinui). Other centre parties split up into factions which joined one or both of the two major parties, like Yachad (Ezer Weizman's party, which merged into the Alignment in 1987), Telem (Moshe Dayan's party, which eventually split up between the Alignment party and Likud), Independent Liberals (also merged into the Alignment) and the General Zionists (which together with Herut
created Gahal, the forerunner of Likud). Also parties which do not identify themselves as political right or political left are considered to be centre parties. For example: The Greens[citation needed] which focuses on environmental subjects and up until today has not been able to enter the Knesset. Interest groups[edit]

The agriculture lobby, which seek to receive subsidies and tax relief on water. The lobby for promoting the status of women, a feminist group which co-operates with the Knesset. The lobby for the release of Jonathan Pollard, an American who spied on his own government and leaked national secrets to Israel Or Yarok ("Green Light"): an organization devoted to reducing road accidents in Israel
through education, enforcement, improvement of infrastructure and the establishment of a national task force to research the problem and formulate a long-term plan to reduce car accidents.


Notable rabbinic figures have considerable influence on several Israeli parties and politicians, notably Shas
and United Torah Judaism. Edah HaChareidis, anti-zionist charedi organisation, that mostly demonstrates against secularization, mostly in Jerusalem The Monitor Committee of Israeli Arabs: an Arab group, claiming to represent the interests of the Israeli Arab
Israeli Arab
minority in Israel, tend to be separatists and hence perceived as hostile by the Jewish majority and have little influence in politics.

Political issues[edit] Major issues in Israeli political life include:

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict
Israeli–Palestinian conflict
and Arab–Israeli conflict The relationships between Jewish religious movements The nature of the state of Israel; (e.g., in what ways should it represent Judaism
and in what ways should it represent secular democracy?) (see Jewish State and Religion in Israel) The Economy, and social issues.

See also[edit]

System of Government of Israel


^ Latitude: A Libel Law and a Balancing Act, New York Times, 1 December 2011 ^ US watchdog: Israel
is Mideast’s only 'free' state. Jpost. January 2013 ^ solutions, EIU digital. "Democracy Index 2016 - The Economist Intelligence Unit". www.eiu.com. Retrieved 2017-11-29.  ^ "Ariel Sharon, former Israeli Prime Minister, dead at 85". CNN. Retrieved 2 August 2014.  ^ AP Analysis: In Fractured Israel, All Electoral Bets Are Off ^ Israeli Challenger Herzog a Determined Underdog

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