Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Daniel Elazar Papers Index

Israel: Constitution, Government and Politics

The Balance of Political Power
and Israel's Political Future

Daniel J. Elazar

The Likud as Israel's Centrist Party

It is important to emphasize that what most non-Israelis think of as Israel's political right, namely the Likud, has become in reality Israel's political center. It is still common in certain circles in Israel and abroad to describe the Likud as the political right. In fact, in the last eleven years the Likud has moved well into the political center.1

This has always been true in domestic matters with regard to the welfare state where the Herut position was opposed to Histadrut control of key health and welfare institutions because it wished to replace Labor movement control with nationalization, not privatization. It is true with regard to the economy where there are few, if any, differences between the Labor and Likud mainstreams with regard to privatization or, more accurately, the appropriate public-private mixture to stimulate Israel's economic growth, again excepting only the Likud's interest in weakening the Histadrut, in contrast to Labor's interest in bringing about the adaptation of that Labor movement institution to new realities. One of the reasons why the 1984 national unity government lasted was because on these issues there is so little difference between the two major parties, a factor which contributes to the strength of the 1988 unity coalition as well.

The "Real" Political Right -- How Right Is It?

There is a political right in Israel consisting of three parties represented in the Knesset -- HaTehiya, Tzomet, and Moledet -- plus Meir Kahana's Kach party which was excluded from the ballot in 1988 for being racist under the terms of Israeli law.2 That political right has seven seats in the Knesset and is united by a view of the Israel-Palestinian struggle as an uncompromising one in which the Palestinians will never truly recognize Israel's right to exist and cannot be trusted with more than local political power west of the Jordan River, if that. This view flows in part from the three parties' strong commitment to the retention of all of Eretz Israel west of the Jordan under Israeli rule by right as the ancient homeland of the Jewish people. They view the Six-Day War as the culmination of the Zionist enterprise with the liberation of the remaining territory west of the river and its opening to Jewish settlement and control.

In social and economic matters which usually define right and left in other countries -- in other words, on most domestic policy issues -- these parties are social democrats or new free enterprise progressives. Most of the leaders and supporters of these three parties had their political beginnings in the Labor camp or the National Religious Party when it was a religious version of the Labor party, so they share most of the social welfare goals of the Labor camp, as modified by the experiences of the last 30 years. In fact, they may even be greater supporters of the welfare state than much of the Israeli mainstream today because they believe in the communitarian character of the Jewish state. In other words, their "right-wing" character is confined to the twin issues of Israel's relationship to its land and to the Palestinians.3

The Two Major Parties and the Peace Process

It is in connection with the future of the territories and the Palestinians that the two parties most differ. Even so, for the past several years both have moved in the same overall direction, toward recognition of the need to accommodate the Palestinian Arabs in some realistic way, and, since the PLO initiative, may have begun to converge in the center. As Labor has moved to a position more willing to accept territorial compromise, Likud has also softened its stance in the direction of finding some satisfactory political role and status for the Palestinians.

Shamir's plan for elections in the territories as a first step toward a political settlement is a sign of how far he has moved from his original rejection of the Camp David Agreement a decade ago to his reliance on it to start peace negotiations now. Shamir's proposal calls for the election of a Palestinian council that would be responsible for the internal government of the Palestinians in the territories under an autonomy plan and, more important, would also be the Palestinian negotiating team for talks leading to a permanent solution.4 It seems that the plan Shamir has in mind will divide the territories into ten single-member districts. Shamir has indicated that while only Palestinians resident in the territories will be acceptable as candidates, Israel will not question whether or not they have PLO connections. In fact, the single-member district system rather assures that those elected will be connected with the PLO, which is preferable from the Israeli as well as the PLO standpoint to a system which would allow the far more extremist Muslim fundamentalists, who totally reject Israel's right to exist and represent something over one-third of the total population in the territories, to be represented in the negotiating process. This step, which carries very great risks for Israel, has become the rallying point for all who want to realistically pursue a peace settlement, further strengthening Shamir's position at the center of Israeli politics.

As we have seen, this continues to be true despite the action of the Likud central committee (the party's principal governing body) on July 5, 1989, where Shamir and his supporters felt it necessary to compromise with those opposed to the peace initiative in order to preserve party unity and continue the peace process.5 That is another reason why the Likud can be described as Israel's centrist party today.

Most of the former Liberals in the Likud favor some form of Israeli-Palestinian power-sharing, a position which, once unknown in Herut, has gained strength even in that party, albeit remaining a minority position. Prime Minister Shamir has combined very hard-line statements with suggestions that he, too, has moved toward some kind of power-sharing arrangement. The opposition to his right on this issue, primarily voiced by Ariel Sharon, David Levy, and Yitzhak Modai, is more a matter of internal party politics than deep conviction on the part of at least two of those figures who have on other occasions shown different faces to the public.

People "in the know" in Israel are firmly convinced that if Sharon were prime minister, anything could happen including significant territorial compromise if he thought it appropriate, while Levy and Modai have traditionally been more moderates than a hawks. These is even more apparent among Likud voters who, since most are less ideologically bound than their party's leadership, are willing to be more realistic about the changes that have taken place among the Palestinian public. The leadership is well aware of this and will undoubtedly have to take it into consideration as they move the country further into the current peace process.

Shamir Outmaneuvers His Rivals

In the meantime it is well to recall that Yitzhak Shamir has outmaneuvered all of his foes within his own party and outside to consolidate his position in a way that few would have expected. He has now survived two Knesset elections as party leader, two internal struggles within his own party, and two bouts at coalition formation, each time emerging with a new success. Whereas prior to the 1984 election, his position in his own party was severely threatened, today he has the overwhelming majority of the party behind him and faces no serious opposition, even from two skilled and potentially powerful opponents like Sharon and Levy.

The Labor party, Shamir's chief rival, is widely perceived to be a "loser," an image that party head Shimon Peres has personally acquired. Four years ago Peres was upstaging Shamir at every turn. Today he is struggling for his own political life and has to bear the burdens of finance minister at a time of economic crisis, high unemployment, and the incipient collapse of several major Israeli industrial firms.

Shamir is clearly dominant on the Israeli and world political scenes. At the beginning of the present government, Peres tried to present himself as a competitor as he had in the previous government, but has been unable to carry out any significant measures in that direction. Shamir's principle supporter and colleague, Moshe Arens, sits in the Foreign Ministry, so that the prime minister and foreign minister speak with a single voice. Peres' principal rival in the Labor party, Yitzhak Rabin, is minister of defense, so that Labor must bear at least equal responsibility with Likud over the conduct of the war against the intifada, while Rabin pursues policies that are quite congruent with those of Shamir. Up and down the line, Labor's share in the coalition government is a maximum of burden with a minimum of potential benefit.

Labor's recent threats to leave the government in the wake of the Likud's reemphasis of its hard-line position actually demonstrated the party's weakness. No doubt a majority in the party would have liked to go into opposition, but all signs pointed to the likelihood of a disaster for Labor if they did. Without elections, Shamir would have to form an anti-peace government and the peace initiative would have fallen. Elections would have led to a further Labor decline. Leaving the government would have necessitated replacing Shimon Peres as party leader but no leading substitute satisfactory to those seeking change is available and Peres would have fought to return to his post.

Shamir's new power is visible in every way. Take the World Jewry Solidarity Conference held in March 1989. Shamir and his close associate, Ehud Olmert, who was the Likud co-chairman of the Conference, managed to overcome what were initially strong objections from many diaspora Jews as well as from the Labor party, to score a major symbolic victory. The Labor party was coopted and Mordechai Gur, one of the new Labor ministers and who sees himself as a strong contender for party leadership, used his role as co-chairman to persuade skeptical diaspora Jewish leaders that the Conference was not to back the Likud but to back Israel, thereby strengthening his own contacts with the diaspora but bringing Shamir the successful event that he wanted. Olmert, by the same token, no doubt under Shamir's direction, clearly defined the Conference as one of support for the present Israeli coalition government as a whole, something that is very acceptable to Jews the world over. Thus the Conference took place amid predictions of dissension and when it concluded on the positive note that it took, everyone was more than pleased and Shamir was handed another victory.

Less than a month later, he achieved a similar victory in Washington by bringing a plan that promised sufficient progress in the short term, foreclosed nothing in the long term (despite his rhetorical disclaimers), and was clearly the best that the United States government or anyone else could get. Since then, the world has supported the Shamir plan with greater or less enthusiasm. Within Israel, as Shamir has been attacked on his right, his plan has served as a magnet for most of the center and even the moderate left.

Personally, Shamir no doubt agrees with the strictures adopted in the Likud compromise resolution, namely that whatever peace negotiations are pursued, East Jerusalemites should not be allowed to vote in the elections, Jewish settlement in the territories should continue, no foreign sovereignty should be allowed west of the Jordan, and there should be no negotiations with the PLO. On the other hand, he insists that those strictures represent only his party's stance and do not determine the meaning of the plan adopted by the government as a whole. Moreover, he claims that his party's endorsement of the government plan is more important than the strictures they attached.

All told, Shamir has shown his mettle in his strongest resources -- patience, solidity, and gentlemanly behavior -- to secure his position and advance his policies in the face of more outspoken and frenetic rivals. The real question today, then, is where he stands on the immediate issues of land and the Palestinians as well as such critical domestic issues as constitutional and electoral reform.

Shamir's Peace Position

With regard to peace, land, and the Palestinians, Shamir began his new term with a number of leaks suggesting that under the rubric of "confederation" he was prepared for what might be described as a joint Israel-Jordanian rule over the administered territories through which an autonomous Palestinian entity would be linked to Jordan for civil and political purposes, while Israel would retain principal control of the territory involved. This solution would still be an interim one but it could develop into a more formal confederation in the future. Subsequently he seemed to retreat from that position with a series of very harsh statements, at first delivered within Herut forums but broadcast publicly and then delivered in other forums as well.6

Which is the real Shamir? It is hard to say but it is at least plausible that he is prepared for the first option. Nevertheless, as he saw Israeli and diaspora Jewish "doves" rushing to embrace the PLO and to grant the Palestinians an independent state when even Yasser Arafat was talking about a "confederation" along the lines of the Benelux arrangement (not exactly a true confederation but that is certainly an interesting opening position for the PLO), he may have felt that it was necessary to reaffirm and reemphasize that the people in power in Israel are not about to give away the store. Whatever certain vocal Israelis and other Jews might be saying at a round of conferences in Belgium, New York, and Switzerland about a two-state solution, Shamir made it clear that the decision would be made in the government center in Jerusalem where he and his supporters rule the roost. At the same time Shamir has continued to hint that he is prepared to be forthcoming and conciliatory on his terms.

What remains is something of an enigma but with room for intelligent negotiation and maneuver, remembering that neither Shamir nor his government will be a party to any formal surrender of territory west of the Jordan River in the sense of giving it up completely. In the long run the possibility seems to be there for a federal solution, probably labelled "confederation," even if it is unconventional and does not follow the strict definition of a confederation, but it will have to be a position that constitutionally preserves a legitimate Israeli presence in those territories. It may be that this will be the great test for the United States peace-making effort, whether Americans can draw upon their own experience and that of others to devise such a federal solution.

In an atmosphere of uncertainly over what can or should be done to achieve peace with the Palestinian Arabs, the Israeli population remains almost equally divided between those who think there is a possibility of conceding territory for peace and are willing to do so, and those who think there is no such possibility and that therefore a hard line is necessary. In fact, Israeli public opinion is more sophisticated than this summary would suggest. It is just that Israel continues to be faced with Hobson's choices, a situation exacerbated by Shimon Peres' misplaying of the Jordanian option which he had so patiently built in his two years as prime minister and Yitzhak Shamir's refusal or inability to present himself to his public as more than a stand-patter, even when in private he has made significant proposals for breaking the deadlock. The tragedy of these two intelligent and patriotic men who have done so much for their country in other situations has very sad public consequences. Most immediately, it seems to be contributing to a perpetuation of the deadlock.

The Prognosis for Constitutional and Electoral Reform

In the wake of the ugly and embarrassing coalition negotiations of November 1988, Shamir also seemed for a while to have resolved to press for far-reaching constitutional and electoral reform. Understanding that electoral reform alone, whether in the form of raising the minimum threshold needed to obtain seats in the Knesset under the present proportional representation system or moving to some form of district elections or some combination of both, will not solve the problem of minor parties being decisive in determining which of the two major parties will form a government, the prime minister apparently opted for the direct election of the head of government as a chief executive.

Last December, several private draft bills calling for the direct election of the head of government were introduced by Likud members of the Knesset.7 This lead to the appointment of the Interministerial Committee on Electoral Reform, a coalition committee consisting of leading Likud and Labor ministers and Knesset members to work out a plan combining constitutional and electoral reform agreeable to both parties and capable of being enacted early in the life of the present Knesset. In May, that committee reported a compromise electoral reform proposal that satisfied the political needs of the major parties but was problematic as a reform likely to build public confidence. At the same time, it backed away from any recommendation of direct election of the head of government. The Likud had second thoughts after Peres made a public statement that such a change would work in Labor's favor.

Needless to say, as time passes, ugly memories of the coalition negotiations fade, and the stability of the present government decreases, the major parties become less interested in an electoral reform that would bring them into conflict with the small parties whom they might need for coalition purposes. Thus Israel is presently in a race between the feeling of necessity to make constitutional changes and the relaxation of that feeling coming from the daily experience of the present government. The smaller parties, left, right and center, remain opposed to any changes that would weaken them. Even the large parties agree that no change should be introduced that would force a strictly two-party system and thereby deny such permanent minorities as the religious bloc and the Arabs the chance to elect their own representatives to the Knesset, even if it is desirable not to leave either of those two groups in a position of being able to determine which major party will form the government.

By July of 1989 the interministerial committee had come to realize the impracticalities of certain aspects of its reform proposal and began to consider revisions in it. Two months later the government experienced another mini-crisis and the big parties scrambled for the support of the small parties once again. Indeed, Agudat Israel seemed to take advantage of the situation, threatened to leave the coalition unless among other things they would be guaranteed that there would be no further action on electoral reform. In the end Shamir conceeded to them on this issue.

At this writing it seems that electoral reform is once again in suspended animation. At the same time the idea of direction election of the head of government is growing in popularity. While no action is expected in the immediate future, it is likely to be the first step in any constitutional reform that is undertaken. In truth, it is the only step that would enhance governmental stability, which is one of the purposes of constitutional reform in Israel, while at the same time not denying permanent minorities representation in the Knesset, as step which would be seen as contrary to Israeli conceptions of democracy.

The Continued Rise of the Likud as a Centrist Party

Any doubt over the Likud's position as Israel's leading party should have been dispelled by the results of the municipal elections on February 28, 1989. The 1989 local elections saw Likud gain control of most of the major cities and almost all of the development towns. While for the past five years Labor controlled cities with a total population of 1,150,000, as compared to 600,000 for the Likud, that situation is now reversed. In addition to retaining Tel Aviv, Herzliya and Netanya, Likud wrested Holon, Beersheba, Ramat Gan, Petah Tikva and Ashdod from Labor, and Tiberias from a National Religious Party mayor.

The Likud victory was, in a sense, the completion of what the Likud started in 1977, that is to say, the establishment of the Likud as a full, firmly rooted and equal contender for political power with the Labor party, if not the majority party in the country. It also reflected the movement of the Likud toward the center of Israel's political spectrum, so that, as Asher Arian noted when analyzing the Knesset elections, the Likud has become, for all intents and purposes, the centrist party in Israel today.8

Additionally, the election results demonstrated that the Likud has acquired the organizational capacity to take advantage of the demographic trends that are running in its favor, whereby younger people tend to vote Likud more than older and Sephardim tend to vote Likud more than Ashkenazim. This time the Likud was able to translate those factors to its advantage in local elections where turnout is dependent upon organization to a much greater extent than in Knesset elections. On the other hand, as the tremendous anti-Labor feeling that originally brought people to Likud has faded to some extent, in each election there is a larger percentage of people who decide how to vote based on other considerations. Hence there was a decline in the youth and Sephardic anti-Labor vote per se. Another sign of growing political maturity was a greater tendency toward split-ticket voting, the opting for a charismatic local personality of one party for mayor, while at the same time supporting another party for the city or local council.

While Shamir was wrong to claim that those elections were a referendum on his policies toward the PLO and the territories -- they were fought out on local issues almost exclusively in each community -- he can legitimately claim that the serious drubbing that the Likud administered to Labor in the municipal arena for the first time, was strong evidence of Likud's expanded grassroots support and superior party organization.9 The municipal elections further stabilized his government and gave him more of the political muscle he needs to lead the country, especially along a path that may well lead to confrontation with the United States and Europe, not to speak of the rest of the world.

Decline of the Labor Party Machine

Likud's greatest triumph was to be found in its ability to field a better organization over much of the country. In the past, Labor has been especially known for the strength of its organization. The old Mapai party, Labor's predecessor and core, was a political machine par excellence. More than that, in addition to the usual organization common to all political machines, it also could call upon institutions like the Histadrut, the Histadrut companies, and the kibbutzim for resources, for buses and cars to transport voters to the polls, for people to work at the polls even in communities where Labor itself might not have had enough activists to do so. This year, by all preliminary accounts, Likud was stronger than Labor in this respect. Many people in the kibbutzim simply refused to work for Labor because of their own problems with the Labor party or problems related to the economic situation of the kibbutzim. Beyond that, Likud had finally built an organization that could turn out its voters on election day.

Forty-eight percent of eligible voters in the Jewish sector voted in the elections. Throughout the Western world, turnout in local elections is lower than turnout for national or parliamentary elections. This is true in Israel as well. While it is still much higher than the United States or Canada, it is much lower than in Knesset elections. In the Arab sector, the turnout was extremely high -- over 80 percent -- and in some localities exceeded 90 percent of eligible voters. No doubt this is because the vast majority of Israeli Arabs live in their own municipalities, making local elections their only opportunity to choose their own leaders. In other words, salience is clearly a major factor affecting voter turnout.

The impact of local issues and candidates was paramount. In a large number of localities, the Likud put up the better candidates in the eyes of a majority of the voters, which is why they did so well. Responsible for conduct of the Likud campaign was Foreign Minister Moshe Arens, Shamir's closest associate, and M.K. David Magen, Ariel Sharon's key man. Both deserve much of the credit for the Likud victory. They prepared the Likud for the local elections by actually intervening in local affairs to promote "good" candidates in place of mediocre local activists. This was accepted by the local branches of the party. According to the new game as played by the Likud, the national party took care of its local branches by putting in the right people, a tactic that succeeded quite well. Unfortunately this is an ominous sign for the local politicians who are getting the message that they are not capable of selecting good candidates and for the local autonomy gained over the past several years. Labor, on the other hand, was internally quite fragmented. In about two dozen localities there were Labor people competing on two or even three lists. Hence at best their vote was divided.

What was the impact of the election results on the leadership of the Labor party? Under normal circumstances one would have said that this would have been the last nail in Shimon Peres's political coffin. While there are never normal circumstances in Israel, the odds are strong, though not overwhelming, that he will not lead the party in the next Knesset elections. On the other hand, the future of the Labor party depends upon whether they can make a change of leadership or whether Peres can somehow rebuild the party while staying in power.

The Religious Parties Deal for Benefits

With regard to the religious parties, this election witnessed a modest extension of the process begun back in 1981 when Agudat Israel partially joined the Begin coalition, a process which strengthened with the rise of Shas in 1984, and which really took off last November with the integration of the ultra-Orthodox parties into the political system. Working in local elections is one of the most prominent signs of integration into the political system and the religious parties achieved significant benefits for themselves as a result.

One example of this could be seen in Ramat Hasharon where out of 43,000 citizens there are about 1,000 religious voters split among 4 parties. Due to the fact that they voted as a bloc, for the first time they managed to gain a seat on the city council. They also made a deal beforehand with the Labor candidate for mayor and nearly all of the religious voters voted for him because they had won advance agreement to receive a number of benefits. In many other localities the religious parties gave their support to the Likud, which is one of the reasons why the Likud won in many places where the power of Labor and Likud was almost equal.

Any assessment of the impact of the religious parties in the local elections must consider the specific situation in each community. In many communities there are few conflicts over issues of religion, while in some, such as Jerusalem or Petah Tikva, there have been chronic problems. It may be expected that the religious parties in the local arena will gain or at least maintain their power irrespective of what happens on the statewide scene. The one party that may still be expected to gain in strength is Shas, and this at the expense of Likud. It depends on the issues that come up, because a good number of not necessarily religious people would vote for Shas for ethnic or other traditional attitudes which are prevalent among Sephardim.

The New Zionist Left - Israeli "Greens"

The Zionist left, which has acquired more cohesiveness as the political voice of the Israeli "doves," especially as the Labor party has lost power, puts on a different and very successful face in the local elections. Locally the parties of the Zionist left -- the Citizens Rights Movement (CRM) and Mapam, plus the more centrist Shinui -- attract the suburban-type voters of the upper middle class. These are the people who want more efficient, effective and cleaner municipal government. They are environmentalists and see themselves on the progressive side of issues. In some cases, two or three of the parties joined together in a common local front, representing Israel's equivalent of the European "Green" party phenomenon which is finding expression around the world. The curious thing is that as CRM and even Shinui become even more leftward oriented in the Knesset elections and have begun to form a more cohesive bloc, they have also gained strength for very different reasons in the local elections.

In the actual campaign, the left and center-left was split, with CRM and Labor competing in almost every city. In Ramat Hasharon, for example, the wealthiest families voted for CRM and Shinui. It was not only a matter of local interest but rather a sign that they simply are no longer willing to vote for Labor anymore. With CRM running so strong locally, Labor has a real problem on the local level. This emerged as a trend in the Knesset elections and is being continued in the local arena. At the same time, the parties of the far right did not compete in the local elections this time, allowing the Likud to succeed by sweeping the entire right, plus the center.

The Rise of Fundamentalism in the Arab Sector

In the Arab sector, the big news was the arrival in strength of Islamic fundamentalism. The impact of this phenomenon is not yet clear because part of it was a reaction against the inefficient, unconcerned, oligarchic, entrenched governments of the old elites -- the leaders of the notable families -- in a situation where there have not been many opportunities even for the circulation (or rotation) of elites. Under such conditions, any movement for change requires cohesion around a party that came out with a very strong message, which the Islamic fundamentalist party could do. On the other hand, there is no question that Islamic fundamentalism is sweeping the entire Arab world. Only the future will tell us to what degree the voting results were a reaction to local conditions and to what degree they were part of the worldwide trend toward the entry of religious fundamentalists into politics.

In the Knesset elections, Labor received substantial Arab support, though in numbers smaller than in previous elections. This factor was not present in the local elections where most Arabs voted in their own municipalities for their own parties. In fact, the Likud advantage in November 1988 became even greater in the local elections because the Jewish vote was separate and distinct.

The Future of the Likud

In the 1984 Knesset elections, a large number of mayors were included in the Likud list. This definitely strengthened the Likud as the party with a younger generation of leaders who were ready to be integrated into state politics and who were given responsible positions in the state government. In the 1988 Knesset elections, there were few additions of this sort in the Likud list, but Labor took the cue and included a number of mayors on its Knesset list, with good results. Many politicians now see local government as a more attractive, vibrant and politically worthwile place to invest their efforts, realizing that it can be a springboard to the Knesset, bypassing the traditional 20 or 30 year period of working up through the party ranks.

It is also becoming more attractive to run for local office today because to be a Knesset member is less important now than to be mayor of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, or even smaller cities. In terms of recognition, benefits and power, the position of mayors today compares much more favorably than it used to to that of Knesset members, especially backbenchers.

On the other hand, Likud does not have the internal strength to consolidate its power position beyond a certain point. This was reflected in the Histadrut elections of November 13, 1989. Though given a good chance to seriously threaten Labor control of the powerful General Workers Federation for the first time in Israel's history, Likud managed to field a lackluster candidate for Secretary-General against an attractive incumbent of Yemenite background who appealed to Histadrut's normal constituency. After a campaign that concentrated on criticism of the present Histadrut administration without putting forward a program of its own, the result was a Labor victory.

Since 1977 it has been apparent that Israel's demographics are such that, all other things being equal, the Likud should gain one to two additional seats at every quadrennial election. It is only the Likud's failure at actual governance that has prevented this result. Even so, the demographics have meant that Likud does not lose. This situation is likely to persist, especially if Labor cannot revivify and revitalize itself with new leadership that will be attractive to Israel's floating vote. At present, Likud seems strong, if relatively inflexible, and still not highly competent at governing, while Labor seems flexible but weak, torn apart by internal struggles, and obsolete, with no new leadership visible in the wings. Under such circumstances Likud will continue to constitute the political center and a generally victorious one at that.


1. Howard Penniman, Israel at the Polls, 1977 (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1979); Howard Penniman and Daniel J. Elazar, Israel at the Polls, 1981 (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1986); Daniel J. Elazar and Shmuel Sandler, Israel's Odd Couple, The 1984 Elections and the National Unity Government (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990); Asher Arian, ed., The Elections in Israel, 1977 (Jerusalem: Academic Press, 1980) and The Elections in Israel, 1981 (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 1982).

2. See Daniel J. Elazar and Shmuel Sandler, Israel at the Polls, 1988 (forthcoming).

3. See Ilan Greilsammer, "The Religious Parties," in Israel's Odd Couple; Shmuel Sandler, "The Religious Parties," in Israel at the Polls, 1981, especially pp. 110-119; Yael Yishai, "Factionalism in the National Religious Party: The Quiet Revolution," in The Elections in Israel, 1977.

4. A Peace Initiative by the Government of Israel, Cabinet Communique, Jerusalem (14 May 1989).

5. Cf. Jerusalem Post, week of July 1, 1989.

6. An account of recent developments can be found in Options and Strategies for Peace (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 1989).

7. For a comparison of the bills introduced, see tables prepared by the staff of the Interministerial Committee.

8. See Asher Arian, "The 1988 Israeli Elections - Questions of Identity," Jerusalem Letter/Viewpoints, No. 83 (15 January 1989).

9. See Daniel J. Elazar and Chaim Kalchheim, "The 1989 Local Elections: What Happened?," Jerusalem Letter/Viewpoints, No. 87 (1 May 1989).

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