Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Likud or ליכוד literally means 'consolidation'. The Likud is a right-wing Israeli political party.
The Likud was formed by the joining together of La'am (made up of the Free Center, State List and the "Movement for Greater Israel") and Gahal (Gush Herut Liberalim) in preparation for the 1973 elections. It quickly became and remains to this day the conservative party in Israel. The Likud worked as a coalition of its factions led by Menachem Begin's Herut until 1988 when the factions formally dissolved and Likud became a unitary political party.
The first Likud prime minister was Menachem Begin (elected 1977). A former leader of the hard-line paramilitary Irgun, he helped initiate the peace process with Egypt, which resulted in the Camp David Accords and the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. The second was Yitzhak Shamir, who first became PM in October 1983 following Begin's resignation. The third was Benjamin Netanyahu, elected in May 1996. The fourth is Ariel Sharon, elected March 2001. Sharon served as defence minister during Operation Peace for the Galilee (1982). His entire tenure was marked by the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Sharon was re-elected in January 2003 and continues to serve as prime minister.
In 1998 a number of right wing members of Likud, including Benny Begin , son of the former Prime Minister, quit the party denouncing it as having become too moderate for having agreed to the Wye River Accords. They formed a new Herut party.
On 2001, following the terrorist attacks of the al-Aqsa Intifada, Ehud Barak lost the elections to Likud leader Ariel Sharon. On the 2003 elections the Likud has doubled his power, rising to 40 mandates (out of 120) and securing power jobs in the government, ministries, public institues and state bureucracy.
- Moshe Katsav (currently President of Israel)
- Uzi Landau
- David Levy
- Limor Livnat
- Shaul Mofaz (former RAMATKAL in the Israeli Defence Forces)
- Benjamin Netanyahu (former prime minister)
- Ehud Olmert
- Reuven "Rubi" Rivlin (current speaker of the Knesset)
- Gideon Sa'ar
- Natan Sharansky
- Ariel Sharon ; (currently Prime Minister of Israel)
Past figures (deceased or retired):
- Menachem Begin (1913 - 1992) ; former prime minister
- Geula Cohen
- Zeev Jabotinsky (1880 - 1940)
- Moshe Shamir (1921 - 2004) ; author, playwright
- Yitzhak Shamir ; former prime minister
- Ezer Weizman ; former President of Israel
See also: List of Likud Knesset Members
No single approach to Palestinian statehood, settlers, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip dominates Likud thought. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon supports a Palestinian state and evacuation of some settlements. Uzi Landau , Limor Livnat , and Netanyahu are strongly opposed to Palestinian statehood. Most Likud members strongly support the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories.
The Likud claims to support capitalist free-market economics, though in practice has mostly ruled as a European-style social democratic party with neo-liberal tendencies. Since coming to power in the late '70s, it has done little to reduce the tax burden, downsize the public sector or remove restrictive labour laws. On the other hand it has instituted free-trade (especially with the EU and US) and dismantled certain monopolies (Bezek, etc). Current Finance minister Netanyahu, the most ardent free-market minister to-date, argues that Israel's largest labor union, the Histadrut, has so much power as to paralyze the Israeli economy. He also argues that the main causes of unemployment are laziness and excessive benefits to the unemployed.
The Likud promotes Jewish-oriented culture, emphasizing such nationalist themes as the flag and the heroism that won Israel's 1949 war with seven Arab states. It advocates teaching values and behavior codes in childhood education. Likud endorses press freedom, and promotion of private-sector media, which have grown markedly under governments Likud has led.
Likud originally enjoyed great support from blue-collar Sephardim who felt discriminated against by the ruling Mapai (Labour) party. To this day the Likud's strong support base remains amongst Sephardim and kippah sruga (middle-of-the-road) Orthodox.
Likud holds 40 seats (out of 120) in the 16th Knesset.
Ariel Sharon's shift to a more centrist position on political issues, especially expressed in his Disengagement Plan, has alienated him from many Likud supporters and effectively fragmented the party. A group of 13 Likud Knesset members, nicknamed the Likud Rebels, voted against the Disengagement in several Knesset votes, and has vowed to vote against the approval of the 2005 budget, which if not approved by March 31, 2005 would mean the termination of the Sharon government. Although the majority of Likud voters supports the plan, the Likud Center, the party's primary ideological body, tended to side against it. With the power of electing future Knesset members lying in the hands of the Center, many are speculating that Sharon will either make compromises in order to maintain party unity and secure loyalty from the Knesset delegation, or form a new party (in a move nicknamed HaMapatz HaGadol or Big Bang) with elements from the Labor and Shinui parties.
- List of Likud Knesset Members
- List of political parties in Israel
- Israeli Politics
- Israeli Knesset
- Likud of Holland
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