The Israeli Left Has Essentially Collapsed

Some research reveals an interesting pattern in Israeli history compared to other industrialized Western nations: the complete and utter collapse of the Israeli Left since the founding of Israel, and the steady ascendancy of the Israeli Right – and not an Anglophone-style milquetoast Right, but a nationalistic and religiously-inclined Right descended from militiamen and terrorists.

Here’s my attempt to numerically chart the collapse of the Israeli Left:


Israel’s proportional representation system has wrought a litany of factional, religious, regional, and ethnic parties since the country’s founding, so I avoided them and focused on the most prominent ideological parties on the Right and Left, and especially on the ancestral lines of Ben-Gurion-Mapai-Alignment-ZU and Begin-Irgun-Lehi-Likud. With the exception of a small blip in the 17th Knesset, when a centrist alliance led by the Left stole a number of Likudniks, the Israeli Left has been in freefall since the 1950s.

The dominant Israeli Left parties were up to 7.5x larger than the Right party in the state’s infancy, yet haven’t surpassed the Right since the dawn of the new millennium.

Menachem Begin first became Prime Minister in 1977, four years after the death of David Ben-Gurion, and beating out Ben-Gurion’s Labour successor Shimon Peres. The man who brought down the King David Hotel and second-guessed the Israeli state as soon as it was established was now its leader. The 1977 election result was termed a “revolution” by a TV anchor.

Read the rest at Social Matter.


Photo by U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

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