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Herut was the major right-wing political party in Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 from the 1940s until its formal merger into Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 in 1988, and an adherent of Revisionist Zionism
Revisionist Zionism
Revisionist Zionism is a nationalist faction within the Zionist movement. It is the founding ideology of the non-religious right in Israel, and was the chief ideological competitor to the dominant socialist Labor Zionism...



Herut was founded by Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

 on 15 June 1948 as a successor to the Revisionist Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

, a militant paramilitary group in Mandate Palestine. The new party was a challenge to Hatzohar
Hatzohar , officially Brit HaTzionim HaRevizionistim was a Revisionist Zionist organisation and political party in Mandate Palestine and newly-independent Israel.-Background:...

 party established by Ze'ev Jabotinsky. Herut also established a newspaper
Herut (newspaper)
Herut was the name of four newspapers published in Palestine and later Israel. The first was established in Jerusalem during the Ottoman era, two were journals of the Irgun, whilst the fourth was owned by the Herut political party founded by former Irgun members.-Jerusalem newspaper:In 1909 a...

 by the same name, with many of its founding journalists defecting from Hatzohar's HaMashkif
HaMashkif was a Hebrew language daily newspaper in Mandate Palestine. Published between 1938 and 1948, it was owned by Hatzohar, the Revisionist party....

. Herut's political expectations were high as the first election approached. It took credit for driving the British out and as a young movement, reflecting the esprit of the nation, it thought its image was more attractive than the old establishment. By winning 25 seats, they expected to come in second, and become leader of the opposition, with potential for future gain of government power. This analysis was shared by other parties.


Objection to IDF withdrawal and negotiations with Arab states was the party's main platform in Israel's first elections
Israeli legislative election, 1949
Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held in newly independent Israel on 25 January 1949. Voter turnout was 86.9%. Two days after its first meeting on 14 February 1949, legislators voted to change the name of the body to the Knesset...

. The party vigorously opposed the ceasefire agreements with the Arab states, both before and after the election. Herut differentiated itself by refusing to recognise the legitimacy of the Kingdom of Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 after the armistice, and frequently used the slogan "To the banks of the Jordan River" in claiming Israel's right to the whole of Eretz Israel/Palestine. According to Joseph Heller
Joseph Heller
Joseph Heller was a US satirical novelist, short story writer, and playwright. His best known work is Catch-22, a novel about US servicemen during World War II...

, Herut was a one-issue party intent on expanding Israel's borders.

In the socio-economic area, Herut's platform represented a clear shift to the right, with support for private initiative, but also for legislation preventing the trusts from exploiting workers. Begin initially was careful not to appear anti–socialist, stressing his opposition to monopolies and trusts, also demanding that “all public utility works and basic industries must be nationalized”. Herut was, right from the beginning, inclined to sympathise with the underdog and “tended to serve as a lodestone for society’s misfits”. Herut won 14 seats with 11,5 % of the votes, making it the fourth largest party in the Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

; Hatzohar, on the other hand, failed to cross the electoral threshold
Election threshold
In party-list proportional representation systems, an election threshold is a clause that stipulates that a party must receive a minimum percentage of votes, either nationally or within a particular district, to obtain any seats in the parliament...

 of 1% and disbanded shortly thereafter.

The party was renowned for its right-wing views and militia actions, and considered outside the mainstream. The practical differences between Herut and Mapai, however, were less dramatic than the rhetoric suggested; factors to consider include the establishment's interest in ostracizing its Herut rival, and Herut's need, as an opposition party, to emphasize those differences and reflect palpably their core voter's instincts.

Opposition to Herut

The party and its leader Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

 had met fierce resistance from the Labor Zionist establishment in Israel and abroad. They were sharply criticised by Jewish intellectuals on the occasion of Begin's visit to New York City in an open letter to the New York Times on 4 December 1948. The letter condemned Herut as well akin to Nazi and Fascist parties as a Terrorist party and was signed by over two dozen prominent Jewish intellectuals including Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

, Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt was a German American political theorist. She has often been described as a philosopher, although she refused that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular." She described herself instead as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact...

, Zellig Harris
Zellig Harris
Zellig Sabbettai Harris was a renowned American linguist, mathematical syntactician, and methodologist of science. Originally a Semiticist, he is best known for his work in structural linguistics and discourse analysis and for the discovery of transformational structure in language...

 and Sidney Hook
Sidney Hook
Sidney Hook was an American pragmatic philosopher known for his contributions to public debates.A student of John Dewey, Hook continued to examine the philosophy of history, of education, politics, and of ethics. After embracing Marxism in his youth, Hook was known for his criticisms of...


Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine. (...) It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents. (...) Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future..

The hostility between Begin and Israel's first Prime Minister and Mapai
Mapai was a left-wing political party in Israel, and was the dominant force in Israeli politics until its merger into the Israeli Labor Party in 1968...

 leader, David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 which had begun over the Altalena Affair
Altalena Affair
The Altalena Affair was a violent confrontation that took place in June 1948 between the newly formed Israel Defense Forces and the Irgun, a right-wing Jewish paramilitary group...

 was evident in the Knesset. Ben-Gurion coined the phrase "without Herut and Maki
Maki (historical political party)
Maki was a communist political party in Israel. It is not the same party as the modern day Maki, which split from it during the 1960s and later assumed its name.-History:...

" (Maki was the Communist Party of Israel), a reference to his position that he would include any party in his coalition, except those two. Actually, Herut was approached at least three times (1952, 1955 and 1961) by Mapai for government negotiations, but Begin turned down the offers each time, suspecting that they were designed to divide his party. The ostracism also expressed itself in the Prime Minister's refusal to refer to Begin by name from the Knesset Podium, using instead the phrase "the person who sits next to MK Badar", and boycotting his Knesset speeches.

Ben-Gurion's policy of ostracizing Revisionism was performed systematically, as seen in the legal exclusion of fallen Irgun and Lehi
Lehi (group)
Lehi , commonly referred to in English as the Stern Group or Stern Gang, was a militant Zionist group founded by Avraham Stern in the British Mandate of Palestine...

 fighters from public commemoration and from benefits to their families. Herut members were excluded from the highest bureaucratic and military positions.


In the municipal elections of 1950 Herut lost voters to the centrist General Zionists
General Zionists
The General Zionists were centrists within the Zionist movement and a political party in Israel. Their political arm is an ancestor of the modern-day Likud.-History:...

, who also attracted disillusioned voters from Mapai and established themselves as a tough opposition rival to Herut. At the second national convention, Begin was openly challenged by more radical elements who wanted a more dynamic leadership and thought he had adapted himself to the system. At the convention, Begin's proposal to send children abroad for security reasons, although there were precedent
Finnish war children
During World War II some 70,000 Finnish children were evacuated from Finland, chiefly to Sweden and Denmark, but also to Norway. Most were evacuated during the Continuation War to ease the situation for their parents who set out to rebuild their homes in the re-conquered Karelia returning from...

 for such a measure, sounded defeatist and was unanimously rejected. It was considered to have hurt the party's image. In March 1951 Herut lost two of its seats, with the defection of Ari Jabotinsky
Ari Jabotinsky
Eri Jabotinsky was a Revisionist Zionist activist, Israeli politician and academic. He was the son of Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the founder of the opposition movement within Zionism at the time, and later served in the Knesset between 1949 and 1951, as a member of the opposition Herut party of Menachem...

 and Hillel Kook
Hillel Kook
Hillel Kook , also known as Peter Bergson , was a Revisionist Zionist activist, politician, and prominent member of the Irgun.-Early life:...

 from the party to sit as independent MKs. Referring to previous written commitments, the party sought to revoke their Knesset membership, but the issue was still not settled by the next election three months later.

Critics of the party leadership pointed out that the party had changed its face and lost its status as a radical avant-garde party. Uncopromising candidates had been removed from the party list in the upcoming elections, economic questions loomed large in the propaganda and Mapai had co-opted some of the Herut agenda, not least by declaring Jerusalem Israel's capital. Herut seemed irrelevant, these critics and outside commentators agreed.

In the 1951 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1951
Elections for the second Knesset were held in Israel on 30 July 1951. Voter turnout was 75.1%.-Results:¹ Rostam Bastuni, Avraham Berman and Moshe Sneh left Mapam and set up the Left Faction. Bastuni later returned to Mapam whilst Berman and Sneh joined Maki. Hannah Lamdan and David Livschitz left...

 Herut dropped to eight seats. Begin resigned (a move he had considered before the election, in face of the internal criticism). He was replaced by Aryeh Ben-Eliezer
Aryeh Ben-Eliezer
Aryeh Ben-Eliezer was a Revisionist Zionist leader, Irgun member and Israeli politician.-Biography:Ben-Eliezer was born in 1913 in Vilnius in the Russian Empire . His family immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1920, and he attended high schools in Tel Aviv...

, whose leadership was nipped in the bud, as he suffered a heart attack in late 1951. Ya'akov Rubin became party chairman in his stead.

As a young party without institutions paralleling those of Mapai, who held a hegemony on most areas of social life, Herut was at a serious disadvantage. Its own leaders were politically inexperienced and clinging to the principle of not – as representatives of the entire nation – accepting financial support from any interest groups, they were prevented from building a strong and competent party structure.

Begin's return

The Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany
Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany
The Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany was signed on September 10, 1952, and entered in force on March 27, 1953...

 of 1952 bought Begin back into politics. It gave the party new momentum and it proved an effective weapon against the General Zionists. The Reparations Agreement awoke strong sentiments in the nation and Begin encouraged civil disobedience during the debate on the affair. The largest demonstrations gathered 15,000 people, and Herut reached far beyond its own constituency. The party let the issue fade from the agenda only after having wrested a maximum of political capital from it.

The third national convention included a fierce debate about democracy and legitimate political actions. There was strong sentiment in favor of using the barricades, but Begin vigorously resisted it. The government of the nation, he claimed, could only be established via the ballot box. The convention gave Begin important legitimacy by giving a message to the public that the party was law–abiding and democratic. At the same time, it secured the support of the hardliners who would not compromise on its principles.

Economic and fiscal policy were given greater emphasis, and the party attacked the Histadrut
HaHistadrut HaKlalit shel HaOvdim B'Eretz Yisrael , known as the Histadrut, is Israel's organization of trade unions. Established in December 1920 during the British Mandate for Palestine, it became one of the most powerful institutions of the State of Israel.-History:The Histadrut was founded in...

 for its double role as employer and trade union. Such concentration of power was to be outlawed; party control of agricultural settlements would also be abolished. Workers were empowered by private enterprise, Herut reasoned. A 25 per cent tax cut was also envisioned.

In the 1955 election
Israeli legislative election, 1955
Elections for the third Knesset were held in Israel on 26 July 1955. Voter turnout was 82.8%.-Results:Mapai retained its plurality in the Knesset, although its share of the vote dropped by 5.1 and its share of seats dropped from 47 to 40...

 the party nearly doubled its seats to 15 and became the second largest party in the Knesset after Mapai. Apart from an improved campaign, the accomplishment was attributed to the activist party platform in a situation of deteriorating security, to more support from recent immigrants and other disgruntled elements, and to the disillusionment with the economic situation. The Kastner trial also played into Herut’s hands, when, together with Maki, they helped bring down Moshe Sharett
Moshe Sharett
Moshe Sharett on 15 October 1894, died 7 July 1965) was the second Prime Minister of Israel , serving for a little under two years between David Ben-Gurion's two terms.-Early life:...

's government in 1954 through a motion of no-confidence over the government's position in the trial.

Herut added another seat in the 1959 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1959
Elections for the fourth Knesset were held in Israel on 3 November 1959. Voter turnout was 81.5%.-Results:¹ The General Zionists and the Progressive Party merged to form the Liberal Party....

, growing slowly, while feeding on feelings of resentment against the dominant left, mainly among new Sephardi and Mizrahi immigrants. The party failed however, to maintain the momentum of the previous election and to make substantial gains, as hoped. As the young nation grew stronger, the public did not feel the same existential dread, lessening the impact of Herut's activist message, especially after the Suez crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

, in which Ben-Gurion's performance was perceived favorably. The Wadi Salib riots a few months before the election made the government play the role of maintaining law and order, which resonated well among the middle class. Mapai exploited the constellation successfully by depicting Begin as dangerous.

Gahal alliance

Herut helped bring down the government again in 1961 when they and the General Zionists
General Zionists
The General Zionists were centrists within the Zionist movement and a political party in Israel. Their political arm is an ancestor of the modern-day Likud.-History:...

 tabled a motion of no confidence
Motion of no confidence
A motion of no confidence is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.-Overview:Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no...

 over the government's investigation into the earlier Lavon Affair
Lavon Affair
The Lavon Affair refers to a failed Israeli covert operation, code named Operation Susannah, conducted in Egypt in the Summer of 1954. As part of the false flag operation, a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence for plans to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American and...

; in the resulting 1961 election
Israeli legislative election, 1961
Elections for the fifth Knesset were held in Israel on 15 August 1961. Voter turnout was 81.6%.-Results:¹ Eight MKs broke away from Mapai to establish Rafi² Herut and the Liberal Party merged to form Gahal...

, the party maintained its 17 seats. Toward the end of the Fifth Knesset in 1965, and in preparation for the upcoming election, Herut joined with the Liberal Party
Liberal Party (Israel)
The Israeli Liberal Party was a political party in Israel and is one of the ancestors of the modern-day Likud.-History:The Liberal Party was formed on 8 May 1961, towards the end of the fourth Knesset, by a merger of the General Zionists and the Progressive Party, with the new party having 14...

 (itself a recent merger of the General Zionists and the Progressive Party
Progressive Party (Israel)
The Progressive Party was a political party in Israel.-History:The Progressive Party was a liberal party, most of whose founders came from the ranks of the New Aliyah Party and HaOved HaTzioni, which had been active prior to independence...

) to form Gahal
Gahal , lit. Herut-Liberals Bloc) was the major right-wing political faction in Israel led by Menachem Begin from its founding in 1965 until it merged into Likud in 1973.-Background:...

 (a Hebrew acronym for the Herut-Liberal Bloc (Hebrew: גוש חרות-ליברלים, Gush Herut-Libralim)), although each party remained independent within the alliance. The merger helped moderate Herut’s political isolation and created a right wing opposition bloc with a broader base and more realistic chance to lead the government. The full alliance did not survive however, because seven members of the Liberal Party, mostly former Progressives, soon defected from the Liberals and formed the Independent Liberals
Independent Liberals (Israel)
The Independent Liberals were a political party in Israel between the 1960s and 1980s.-History:The Independent Liberals party was formed during the fifth Knesset in the aftermath of the merger of the Liberal Party and Herut. Seven of the 17 Liberal Party MKs led by former Minister of Justice,...

; they disagreed with the merger, identifying Herut and Begin as too right-wing. Mapai also experienced defections at the time, and the Knesset session closed with Gahal holding 27 seats, second only to Mapai's remaining 34.

Over time the public perception of both Herut and its leader had changed, despite the ostracism imposed by Prime Minister Ben–Gurion. Begin had remained the main opposition figure, against the dominant politicians of the left, particularly in debates regarding such heated issues as the Lavon investigation and Israel's relationships to Germany. This prominence evaded much of the ostracism's impact, and Ben–Gurion’s hostility became ever more savage. He eventually started to liken Begin to Hitler – an attitude that backfired, making Begin to stand out as a victim. The political climate took a favourable turn for Revisionism and Herut in mid-1963, when Levi Eshkol
Levi Eshkol
' served as the third Prime Minister of Israel from 1963 until his death from a heart attack in 1969. He was the first Israeli Prime Minister to die in office.-Biography:...

 replaced Ben–Gurion as Prime and Defense Minister. A government resolution in March 1964 calling for the reinterment of Zeev Jabotinsky’s remains in Israel attests to this. Fallen Irgun and Lehi militants also began to be commemorated more equally, with their reputations being rehabilitated.

In the 1965 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1965
Elections for the sixth Knesset were held in Israel on 1 November 1965. Voter turnout was 85.9%.-Background:Prior to the elections, two major alliances were formed; Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda united to form the Alignment, whilst Herut and the Liberal Party had formed the Gahal alliance towards the end...

, Gahal won only 26 seats, well below that of the left's new Alignment
Alignment (political party)
The Alignment was an alliance of the major left-wing parties in Israel between the 1960s and 1990s. It was established in 1965 as an alliance of Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda but was dissolved three years later when the two parties and Rafi formally merged into the Israeli Labor Party...

, which won 45. In Herut's search for a scapegoat, its leadership was questioned by many; they considered that Begin, despite his achievements, brought an indelible stigma from his militant days before and around independence, scaring off voters. Internal opposition arose and Herut's eighth convention in June 1966 became turbulent. The opposition group sensed that Begin’s leadership position was too strong to challenge, so they concentrated on winning control over the party organization. They won overwhelming victories in all votes for the composition of party institutions. Begin responded by putting his own political future at stake. He threatened to leave the party chair and maybe also his seat in Knesset. Begin's move mobilized delegates in emphatic support for him, but the party convention still ended with great internal tension, and without a party chairman; the chair would be vacant for eight months. Party opposition to Begin' leadership came to a showdown a month after the convention, when Haim Amsterdam, an assistant to one of the opposition leaders, Shmuel Tamir
Shmuel Tamir
Shmuel M. Tamir was a prominent Israeli independence fighter, lawyer, Knesset member from 1965 to 1980, and Minister of Justice in the government of Menachem Begin from 1977 until 1980-Irgun:...

, published a devastating attack on Begin in Ha'aretz; this led to the suspension of Tamir’s party membership. The leaders of the opposition then established a new party in Knesset, the Free Center, with the loss of three seats for Herut. After this revolt, Begin returned to party leadership.

Government participation

Gahal joined the government on the first day of the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

, with both Begin and the Liberal's Yosef Sapir
Yosef Sapir
Yosef Sapir was an Israeli politician and Knesset member of the 1st to 7th Knessets. He served as head of the General Zionists and was a founding member of the Gahal party....

 becoming a Minister without Portfolio
Minister without Portfolio
A minister without portfolio is either a government minister with no specific responsibilities or a minister that does not head a particular ministry...

; Ben-Gurion's Rafi also joined, with Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

 becoming Defense Minister. The national unity government was Begin’s own brainchild. This had a significant positive effect on his image. Critics agree that it was a major turning point in Herut's road to power, since it granted it the legitimacy it had been denied up until then. The national unity government was more than an emergency solution in a time of existential danger; it reflected a relaxation of ideological tension, which enabled the government to outlive the emergency. Moreover, Begin and Ben-Gurion were reconciled. Ben-Gurion needed him in his bitter rivalry with Eshkol and Begin surprised his adversary by proposing to Eshkol that he should step aside in favor of Ben-Gurion as the leader of an emergency government. The proposition was turned down, but Ben–Gurion, who recently had compared Begin to Hitler now praised his responsibility and patriotism.

The outcome of the war strengthened Herut. The principle of the indivisibility of the land had seemed as an archaic principle with little practical significance, but now it emerged from the fringe of consciousness to the core of national thought. Begin saw it as his first mission in the government to secure the fruits of the victory by preventing territorial withdrawal and promoting settlement.

Despite the breakaway of the Free Center, Gahal retained its representation in the Knesset in the 1969 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1969
Elections for the seventh Knesset were held in Israel on 28 October 1969. Voter turnout was 81.7%.-Results:¹ Meir Avizohar defected from the National List to the Alignment² Avner Shaki left the National Religious Party and remained a single MK...

, and several of their candidates were elected as mayors. Herut was included in the new government of Golda Meir
Golda Meir
Golda Meir ; May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel....

 with six ministers (out of 24). The recruitment of Major–General Ezer Weizman
Ezer Weizman
' was the seventh President of Israel, first elected in 1993 and re-elected in 1998. Before the presidency, Weizman was commander of the Israeli Air Force and Minister of Defense.-Biography:...

, the first general to join Herut and a nephew of Israel’s first President, was a considerable public relations achievement. The Government participation did not last long, since Gahal left in early 1970 over the acceptance of the Rogers Plan
Rogers plan
The Rogers Plan was a framework proposed by United States Secretary of State William P. Rogers to achieve an end to belligerence in the Arab-Israeli conflict following the Six-Day War and the continuing War of Attrition. The plan was publicly proposed in a December 9, 1969 speech at an Adult...

, which included an approval of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on November 22, 1967, in the aftermath of the Six Day War. It was adopted under Chapter VIof the United Nations Charter...

, a move that was largely dictated by Begin.

In September 1973 Gahal merged with the Free Centre
Free Centre
The Free Centre was a political party in Israel, and is one of the ancestors of the modern-day Likud.-Background:The party was created on 29 March 1967 during the sixth Knesset when Shmuel Tamir led a breakaway of three Herut members after a leadership dispute with Menachem Begin...

, the National List
National List
The National List , sometimes translated as the State List, was a political party in Israel. Despite being founded by David Ben-Gurion, one of the fathers of the Israeli left, the party is an ancestor of the modern-day Likud, Israel's largest right-wing bloc.-Background:The National List had been...

 and the non-parliamentary Movement for Greater Israel
Movement for Greater Israel
The Movement for Greater Israel was a political organisation in Israel during the 1960s and 1970s which subscribed to an ideology of Greater Israel....

 to create Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

, again with all parties retaining their independence within the union. Within Likud, Herut continued to be the dominant party. In the 1973 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1973
The Elections for the eighth Knesset were held on 31 December 1973. Voter turnout was 78.6%.-Results:1 Aryeh Eliav left the Alignment and merged with Ratz to form Ya'ad - Civil Rights Movement...

, Likud capitalized on the Governments neglect in the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

 and gained seven seats, totalling 39.

In the following years, Likud sharply criticized the Governments accords with Egypt and Syria. Stormy demonstrations where organized in conjunction with Gush Emunim
Gush Emunim
Gush Emunim was an Israeli messianic and political movement committed to establishing Jewish settlements in the West Bank. While not formally established as an organization until 1974 in the wake of the Yom Kippur War, Gush Emunim sprang out of the conquests of the Six-Day War in 1967, encouraging...

, signifying an important political alliance. In the 1977 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1977
The Elections for the ninth Knesset were held on 17 May 1977. For the first time in Israeli political history, the right-wing, led by Likud, won the election, ending almost 30 years of rule by the left-wing Alignment and its predecessor, Mapai...

, Likud emerged victorious with 43 mandates, the first time the right had won an election. Begin became Prime Minister, retaining his post in the 1981 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1981
Elections for the tenth Knesset were held in Israel on 30 June 1981. Despite last minute polls suggesting a victory for Shimon Peres's Alignment, Menachem Begin's Likud won by just one seat...

. In 1983 he stood down, and Yitzhak Shamir
Yitzhak Shamir
' is a former Israeli politician, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, in 1983–84 and 1986–92.-Biography:Icchak Jeziernicky was born in Ruzhany , Russian Empire . He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement...

 took over as Herut (and therefore Likud) party leader and Prime Minister.

The party was finally disbanded in 1988 when Likud dissolved its internal factions to become a unitary party.

Herut – The National Movement

In 1998 Benny Begin (son of Menachem Begin), Michael Kleiner
Michael Kleiner
Michael Kleiner is an Israeli politician and leader of Herut – The National Movement.He first entered the Knesset in 1981 as a Likud parliamentarian but, upon then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu relinquishing Hebron to the Palestinian Authority, Kleiner split off from the Likud along with Benny...

 and David Re'em
David Re'em
David Re'em is a former Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset for Likud and Herut – The National Movement between 1996 and 1999.-Biography:...

 broke away from Likud in protest at Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.Netanyahu is the first and, to...

's agreement to the Wye River Memorandum
Wye River Memorandum
The Wye River Memorandum was an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestine Authority to implement the earlier Interim Agreement of 28 September, 1995...

 and the Hebron Agreement
Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron
Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron, also known as The Hebron Protocol or Hebron Agreement, began January 7 and was concluded from January 15 to January 17, 1997 between Israel, represented by Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Palestine Liberation Organization ,...

, which had ceded land to the Palestinians. They named their new party Herut – The National Movement, and tried to claim it as the successor to the original party. However, in reality it was a new and separate party.

External links