Likud

Likud or ליכוד literally means consolidation. The Likud is a moderate right-wing [Israel]]i political party.

History

The Likud was formed by the joining together of Free Center, La'am and Gahal in preparation for the 1973 elections. It was later merged with the liberal right-ring Herut to became Israeli right-wing party. It quickly became and remains to this day the conservative party in Israel.

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 October 2000. 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.

Ideological Positions

Palestinian-related Issues

No single approach to Palestinian statehood, settlers, and the disputed territories dominates Likud thought. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon supports a Palestinian state and evacuation of some settlements. Landau, Livnat, and Netanyahu are strongly opposed to Palestinian statehood. Most Likud members strongly support the Israeli settlements in the disputed territories.

Economy

The Likud has always supported capitalist free-market economics. Current Minister of the Treasury Netanyahu 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.

Culture

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.

Current Status

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.

See also:


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