Labour (העבודה 'HaAvoda') is an Israeli political party. It holds moderate left agenda and is a Zionist party. It is a member of the Socialist International and an observer member of the Party of European Socialists.
Also Known As
Those are the names which the Israeli Labour party has used
- Zion workers פועלי ציון ("Zion's Workers", "Poalei Zion").
- Mapa"y - מפא"י : "The Party of the Workers of the Land of Israel". (1930-1970)
- HaMaarach - המערך: "The Alignment" (of Mapay and Mapam parties).
- HaAvoda (Avoda) - העבודה, lit "Labour".
- One Israel ישראל אחת - with Gesher and Meimad (1999-2001).
The current name is "HaAvoda." (logo (http://www.havoda.org.il/images/avodaLogo.gif))
Mapai (Mifleget Poalei Eretz Israel — Land of Israel Worker’s Party) was a Labour Zionist party founded in the 1930s as the right wing (or more moderate) faction of the Zionist socialist Russian Party Poale Zion. In the early 1920s the Labour Zionist movement founded the Histadrut (General Hebrew Workers' Union) which dominated the Hebrew settlement economy and infrastructure, later making Mapai the dominant political faction in the Zionist politics. It is also responsible for the founding of Hashomer and Haganah, the first two armed Jewish group who secured the people and property of the Hebrew settlements against bandits and terrorists.
By the early 1930s, the workers' leader David Ben-Gurion rose to power and led Mapai for almost two decades before he retired to Sde Boker in order to develop the Negev desert. Under Ben-Gurion's leadership Mapai became the leading party in the Hebrew parliament and Ben-Gurion led the Hebrew settlement in its struggle for independence. Ben-Gurion declared Israel's independence and was elected to be its first prime minister.
In 1965 Mapai joined with Achdut Ha'Avoda-Poale Zion to form the Labour Alignment . In 1968 the two parties merged with Rafi, a splinter group of Ben-Gurion supporters who had left Mapai a few years earlier, to form the Mifleget Ha-Avodah Ha-Yisraelit (the Israeli Labour Party). In 1969 the new party formed an electoral coalition with Mapam which became the second Labour Alignment and continued to dominate the government.
Until 1977, all the prime ministers were from the Mapai/ILP. The greatest opposition to the ILP was Menachem Begin's Herut (today Likud) - the right wing liberal party. In 1977, following Yitzhak Rabin resignation from office, the ILP lost the elections to Begin.
In 1984, as a result of an electoral stalemate in which neither Labour nor Likud was able to form a stable coalition, the two parties led by Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir respectively formed a national unity government with the prime ministership rotating between the two party leaders. The left wing Mapam rejected this arrangement and left the Labour Alignment to join the parliamentary opposition. The national unity government fell in 1988 following a failing political scam of Peres and Shas leader Arie Deri.
In 1992, the ILP won the election and Yitzhak Rabin was elected as prime minister. During his term, he signed a peace treaty with Jordan and ran the Oslo process. The rise of terror following The Oslo process has eventually led to Rabin's assassination by an right-wing extremist Yigal Amir. Shimon Peres replaced Rabin until 1996, when he lost the elections to Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu following a wave of suicide bombings by Palestinian terror group Hamas.
On 1999, Ehud Barak beat Shimon Peres and became the leader of the party and its candidate for Prime minister. In these elections Israelis voted twice - once for the Knesset and once for Prime Minister. Ehud Barak created "One Israel" (ישראל אחת) - a joint list of the Labour, David Levy's Gesher and the religious Zionist Meimad. Barak's campaign was focusing on social and economical issues, and his reputation as "not-politician" and "not-passing-screen" helped him to overcome and replace in office the slick and charismatic Likud's candidate Benjamin Nethanyahu.
However, Ehud Barak tenure was short. He started by forming a 75-member coalition of Israel-One (26), Shas (17), Meretz (10), Israel-BaAliya (5), Mafdal (5) and United Torah Judaism (5). The coalition with religious right wing parties such as Mafdal, Shas and United Torah Judaism caused tensions with leftist and secularist Meretz. Meretz was the first to quit the coalition after a fight with Shas over the authority of the Deputy Education Minister. The rest of the parties left before the Camp David 2000 summit in the summer. Following the October 2000 riots and the violence of the al-Aqsa Intifada, Barak resigned from office and was replaced by Ariel Sharon in 2001 (the elections were only for prime-minister).
Ariel Sharon formed a unity government with Likud, Labour, Shas, Israel-BaAliya and United Torah Judaism. Labour got two important cabinet portfolios: Shimon Peres was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Benjanin Ben-Eliezer was appointed as Defence Minister. Labour supported Operation Defensive Shield, which was conducted in April 2002 against Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank. After harsh criticism that Peres and Ben-Elizer were puppets of Sharon and not promoting the peace process, Labour quit the government in 2003.
In 2003, general election were held. Likud won 40 mandates, while Labour - lead by former General and Haifa Mayor Amram Mitzna - won only 19. This was considered a blow to the "Old Lady" of the Israeli politics. Mitzna resigned as Charirman of Labour and Shimon Peres was appointed temporary Chairman.
On November 2004, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak announced he intented to run again for Prime Minister as Labor Chairman, causing fear and pressure among Labour's senior politicians.
Prominent former members include
Mapai evolved from the Socialist "Workers of Zion" party and adhered to the Zionist Socialist ideology promulgated by Nahum Syrkin and Ber Borochov. During Ben-Gurion's leadership (1930's-1950's) Mapai focused mainly on the Zionist agenda, since it was the most urgent issue then - establishing a national homeland for Jews.
After the foundation of the state of Israel, Mapai engaged in nation building - the erection of the Israeli Defence Forces (while dismantling every other armed group), the establishment of many settlements, the settling of more than 1,000,000 Jewish immigrants and the desire to unite all the inhabitants of Israel under a new Zionist Jewish Israeli culture (an ideology known as the "Melting pot" כור היתוך).
Labour in the past was even more hawkish on security and defence issues than it is today. During its years in office, Israel has fought the 1956 Sinai War, the 1967 Six Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
The ILP has become a centrist party. It is no longer socialist or social democratic (though it retains membership in the Socialist International) but has a social-liberal platform, similar to third-way British Labour. However, economic policies in Israel are seldom hotly debated even within the major parties, and thus actual policies depend much more on initiative by the civil service than on political ideologies. Therefore, Labour's recent terms in office did not differ significantly in terms of economic policy from those of its rival.
On the question of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Labour party has two competing attitudes. Dovish members, such as Amram Mitzna, Avraham Burg, Yuli Tamir, support peace negotiations with the Palestinians and dismantling most Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Some of them harshly criticise Israel's military tactics used against Palestinians - mainly the "targeted killing" of alleged terror leaders. In 2003, the ILP experienced a small split when former members Yossi Beilin and Yael Dayan joined Yachad to form a new left wing party.
Semi-pragmatic ILP members, such as Shimon Peres, Offir Pines, Haim Ramon and Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, support negotiations with the Palestinians conditional on ending terrorism and replacing the current Palestinian leadership with one committed to non-violence. Some ILP members (mainly Haim Ramon) support the erection of the Israeli West Bank barrier to prevent terrorists from entering Israel, as well as unilateral withdrawal from areas in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The pragmatic ILP members - headed by Peres and Ramon - support Israel's military war against Palestinian terror groups. Unlike Mitzna and Burg, Peres and Ramon justify Israel's policy of targeting terror leader such as Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantissi. They are also willing to join a unity government with Likud on condition that the government promotes the peace process and the dismantling of settlements.
It is currently led by Shimon Peres, and has 19 seats in the 16th Knesset. Recently, the party agreed to merge with Amir Peretz's Am Ehad workers' party. Am Ehad has only 3 seats, but Peretz is the head of the Histadrut - the most powerful Workers' Union in Israel, founded by Mapai. Although Am Ehad has small electoral power, it is an important party because it has the ability to declare a general strike.
On December 2004 Labor joined Ariel Sharon's Likud to form a unity government in order to implement Israel's disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip.
The party used to dominate Israeli politics, but is now in opposition, alternating with Likud as a coalition leader.
Labour Party Leaders, 1948-present