The political system: Government, parliament, and the court

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2 Scopus citations


On the eve of the 1980s the State of Israel underwent a profound transformation. The mahapach (electoral upheaval) which put Menachem Begin and the Likud movement into power on May 17, 1977 was far more than the first transfer of power to another party since David Ben-Gurion established Israel's first government on May 14, 1948. The political transformation indicated a profound change in the Israeli political system that included, on the one hand, a political tie between two political parties and two ideologies and, on the other hand, growing instability and a governance crisis. Various attempts to stabilize the political system in the past two decades, described below, have largely failed. The political system, far from providing answers to the deep schisms in Israeli society described in previous chapters, seems to be dominated by them. The Mahapach (Electoral Upheaval) During Israel's first three decades, the Labor movement enjoyed hegemony over politics, economics, culture, and the dominant ideology in Israel. Earlier still, from the middle of the 1930s, the Labor movement had similar hegemony over the World Zionist Organization and the yishuv. The Labor movement had also formed the historical narrative of the establishment of Israel, and by excluding the Zionist right wing from the national historical consciousness, had fortified its control all the more. The Party of Workers of Eretz Yisrael (Mifleget Poalei Eretz Yisrael – Mapai) – the primary group in the Zionist Labor movement – had controlled the axis of the political system: without Mapai it was impossible to establish a government, and Mapai was always the primary ruling party in a coalition structure in which the junior partners came and went.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIsrael since 1980
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780511756153
ISBN (Print)9780521855921
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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