- This article is about the Israeli political party. For the party of Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, see National Union (Portugal)
National Union (Hebrew: Ha'ihud Ha'Leumi) is a right-wing Israeli political party formed from the merger of three parties: Moledet ("homeland"), Israel Beytenu ("Israel is our home"), and Tkuma ("resurrection"). The three parties still operate somewhat independently, but run as one party list in Israeli elections.
The party was formed in 1999 by Rehavam Zeevi, the leader of Moledet, as an alliance with Herut and Tkuma. Herut later left the union. In 2000 Israel Beytenu joined the union, more than doubling its size and radically altering its voter demographics, by adding to it a large body of Russian immigrants. Its leader, Avigdor Lieberman, former secretary to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (1996-1999) and himself a Russian immigrant in the early 1980s, became leader of the National Union in 2001 following the assassination of Zeevi (at the time the Israeli tourism minister).
The party has a joint platform, and in particular it rejects all current peace efforts, the notion of a Palestinian state, and advocates voluntary transfer of the Palestinians. See Moledet for details of the notion of transfer in Israel. However, on the rhetoric level, its three constituents retain their unique identity
- Israel Beytenu speaks about issues pertinent to the new Russian immigration, such as freedom of religion and socioeconomical issues. Its propaganda is mostly in Russian, and it has been known to broadcast propaganda on the Israeli national television in Russian with Hebrew subtitles. It is almost exclusively secular.
- Moledet focuses on the notion of transfer, mostly ignoring issues of secular-religious relationships. It prides itself on being composed equally of secular and religious elements.
- Tkuma represents the religious side. While not actively opposing the Israel Beytenu dominated platform, its own propoganda campaign uses jewish motives and argumentation to advance the union's common ground.
The party won 7 of the 120 seats in the 16th seating of Israel's unicameral parliament, the Knesset (elected in January 2003).
- Yisrael Beytenu
- Yuri Stern
- Eliezer Cohen
- Michael Noodleman
- Uri Uriel
- National Union (official English site) (http://www.leumi.org.il/en/index.html)
- Moledet (official English site) (http://www.moledet.org.il/english/moledet.html)
- American Friends of Israel's National Union Party (http://www.thenationalunion.com)