This is an article about the Israeli political party. For the Jewish homosexuals association in Germany see: YACHAD (Germany).
Yachad is an Israeli dovish social democratic left wing party. The name "Yachad" יח"ד which literally means Together, is also an abbreviation of "Social Democratic Israel" in Hebrew.
(Yachad was also the name of a centrist party formed by Ezer Weizmann prior to the 1984 Israeli elections. The party elected three members to the Knesset and subsequently dissolved and joined the Israeli Labour Party. The two Yachads are unconnected.)
Yachad was established by the merger of Meretz with Yossi Beilin's SHAHAR שח"ר movement and Roman Bronfman's "The Democratic Choice" party. It was established in order to unite and resucitate the Israeli Zionist peace camp, which was defeated in the 2003 elections (dropping from 54 Knesset members in 1992 to 24 in 2003) following the al-Aqsa Intifada. The party's purpose was to unite a variety of dovish Zionist movements with the dovish wing of the Israeli Labor Party. However, these efforts have so far been unsuccessful as except for the original Meretz, Shahar and MK Roman Bronfman no other movement has joined the new party. Only 20,000 people have registered as members of the new party (half the number of people who were listed as Meretz members in the 1999 party primaries).
In March 2004, Yossi Beilin was elected over Ran Cohen to a two year term as the first chairman of Yachad.
The original name was "Yaad", which means "goal" in Hebrew, but was replaced because the meaning of Yaad in Russian is poison.
Yachad defines itself as a left wing social democratic party.
Yahad sees itself as the political representative of the Israeli Peace movement. It currently does not have a written ideological platform but it does emphasise the following principles:
Secondary issues are:
Issues that are still under debate in Yachad:
Current status and politics
Reputation and Public Image
As stated above, Yachad has shrunk significantly from the large Meretz party of 1999. Yachad's attempt to draw Israeli Labor Party dovish voters and Knesset members has thus far failed.
On March 16, 2004, Yossi Beilin was elected to lead Yachad. Following Beilin's victory, the party was reenergized. Beilin launched a financial recovery plan for the party, which has begun running important activities. However, following Beilin's victory, many Yahad activists announced that they are withdrawing their support from the party. Some of the reasons for this are:
- Beilin isn't a true socialist. Although he defines himself as social-liberal he is actually a moderate capitalist.
- Beilin's only focuses is on negotiations with the Palestinians, neglecting other issues.
- Beilin is hated by a majority of the Israel public, mainly by Sepharadim and residents of the periphery towns. This is partly because of the perception that he holds 'too pro-Palestinian' opinions, partly because of his elitist image and mainly because of the failure of the Oslo process, with which Beilin is closely associated.
- Beilin is perceived to be funded by foreign (European) bodies, thus being more loyal to the interests of his funders rather to the interests of Israel.
- Beilin's Geneva Accord seemed to be an unfair attempt to place Ran Cohen in his shadow.
- The defeat of Ran Cohen by Beilin appears to some to be evidence of the anti-Sepharadic racism in Yachad. Ran Cohen, who immigrated to Israel from Iraq, is the only non-Ashkenazi to have reached a senior position in Meretz\Yachad.
However, the radical faction of Meretz expressed support in Beilin because:
- It was claimed that he could attract voters from Hadash and other small radical left parties.
- Beilin's supporters showed polls that claim to prove that Beilin will bring more voters than Cohen.
- Beilin is the father of the Oslo peace process and the Geneva Accords.
- Beilin would give Yachad a clear dovish stand, which will distinguish it from the Israeli Labor Party and Shinui.
Beilin supporters claim that under Beilin's leadership, the party seems to be growing in strength, assisted in part by disaffection of voters from Shinui.
Yachad's approach toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has grown more radical since its establishment. Yachad abandoned the "securitist" approach of its predeccessor Meretz and focused its criticism at the conduct of Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Defence Forces and the government of Israel. This criticism has failed to find much support in Israeli public opinion, which continues to be dominated by the desire for security and haunted by Palestinian terror attacks.
Yachad is torn in whether to support Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan. It is also criticized in neglecting the social issues which Meretz championed. In November 2004, Yachad announced that it would abstain in motions of no confidence in the Likud government in order to prevent the government from falling prior to the implementation of its plan to withdraw from Gaza. With the defection of Shinui from Ariel Sharon's government, Yachad's decision is effectively propping up Sharon for the time being.
Current Knesset members (16th assembly):
- Yossi Sarid
- Haim Oron
- Ran Cohen
- Zehava Galon
- Roman Bronfman.
- Avshalom Vilan
- Official Website (http://www.yachadparty.org.il/ASP/Yachad.ASP?wci=MainPage) (Hebrew)