Liberalism in Israel

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Liberalism has played a role in the political history of Israel since Israel's founding.[1]

Several liberal political parties have claimed substantial popular support, mainly proved by having representation in the Knesset. While liberalism is usually suspicious of nationalism, Jewish liberals in Israel generally support some form of Zionism.

Conservative liberals (see General Zionists, Liberal Party) were founding members of the Likud, the country's main conservative party, while social liberals (see Progressive Party, Independent Liberals) were integrated in the social-democratic Labor Party. Later on, a long-time liberal, anti-clerical and pro-free market party was Shinui, a member of the Liberal International. More recently, Kadima was a broad liberal and centrist party, integrating politicians from the left and the right.

Current liberal (and liberal Zionist) parties are Yesh Atid and Hosen (Blue and White). New Hope is a national-liberal party. New By contrast, Balad draws upon liberal values in its aim to eliminate discrimination against Arab citizens and redefine Israel as a state for all its citizens rather than a "Jewish and democratic state", but it is a secular party rather than a liberal one.


From General Zionists to Liberal Party[edit]

From Progressive Party to Independent Liberals[edit]

Shinui, Democratic Movement, Shinui, Hetz[edit]

Kadima and Hatnuah[edit]

Splits from and mergers into Likud[edit]

Yesh Atid, Hosen, Telem and minor parties[edit]

  • 2012: Yair Lapid, Tommy's son, launches Yesh Atid.[1]
  • 2013: In the general election Yesh Atid wins 14.3% and 19 seats.
  • 2015: In the general election Yesh Atid is reduced to 8.8% of the vote and 11 seats.
  • 2018: Benny Gantz launches the Hosen, a broad centrist party whose economic goals are liberal.[21] Orly Levy, a splinter from Yisrael Beitenu, forms Gesher.
  • 2019: In the run-up of the April general election Yesh Atid, Hosen and the newly-formed Telem, led by former Likud minister Moshe Ya'alon, join forces into Blue and White. The list wins 26.1% and 35 seats, while Gesher 1.7% and no seats. In the September general election the Blue and White list comes first with 26.1% and 33 seats, while Gesher obtains one seat for its leader Levy in alliance with the Labor Party.
  • 2020: In the general election Blue and White increases its tallies to 26.6% and 33 seats, but comes second after Likud. After the election, Blue and White splits over the formation of a national-unity government along with Likud: Hosen, which retains the "Blue and White" name, on one side, Yesh Atid and Telem on the other. In the event, a minority faction of Telem splits and forms Derekh Eretz, supporting the national-unity government along with Hosen. In December Derekh Eretz joins New Hope. Also in December Ofer Shelah, a splinter from Yesh Atid, announces his intent of forming a new political party named Tnufa, while, on the left, Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai leaves the Labor Party to launch The Israelis, which was joined also by leading splinters from Hosen / Blue and White.
  • 2021: In the run-up of the general election Yesh Atid and Telem part ways, and the latter finally drops out. In the election Yesh Atid wins 13.9% and 17 seats, Blue and White 6.6% and 8 seats, New Hope 4.7% and 6 seats. All three parties go on to be part of the 36th government of Israel, with Yesh Atid being the largest faction.

Liberal party factions[edit]


  1. ^ a b Asa-El, Amotz (24 March 2018). "Yair Lapid's shot at bringing the political center to the forefront". Jerusalem Report.
  2. ^ a b c "General Zionism".
  3. ^ "YIVO | General Zionists".
  4. ^ Goldstein, Amir (9 January 2018). "Who represented the Israeli middle class? The crystallization of the General Zionists from 1948 to 1949". Middle Eastern Studies. 54 (3): 400–414. doi:10.1080/00263206.2017.1419468. S2CID 148943042.
  5. ^ "General Zionists".
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c "Progressive Party".
  9. ^ "The Liberal Party".
  10. ^ "Gachal".
  11. ^ "Likud - parties".
  12. ^ Zeigerman, Dror (2013). המהפך הליברלי; מיזוגים פוליטיים : חקר המפלגה הליברלית בישראל [The Liberal Revolution; Political Mergers: A Study of the Liberal Party in Israel]. Schocken Books. ISBN 9789651908903.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Independent Liberals".
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b c "Shinui".
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^ "Dash".
  19. ^ Shavit, Zeev; Yuchtman-Yaar, Ephraim, eds. (2001). מגמות בחברה הישראלית [Trends in Israeli Society]. 2. Open University of Israel. p. 1166.
  20. ^ a b c Goldman, Yoel (23 November 2012). "Livni heading for 10 seats, and Barak will make it back into the Knesset, poll shows". Times of Israel.
  21. ^ Hoffman, Gil (31 December 2018). "Gantz declares himself politically flexible". Jerusalem Post.
  22. ^ "הליברלים בליכוד".
  23. ^ "הליברלים במרצ".
  24. ^ "הליברלים במרצ".

See also[edit]