Central Religious Camp

Israel Table of Contents

In 1988 Rabbi Yehuda Amital of Jerusalem formed a new moderate religious party, the Central Religious Camp, in an attempt to counteract the growing popularity of right-wing ultranationalist religious parties. Rabbi Tovah Lichtenstein had the second position on the party's Knesset list. The party failed, however, to gain the minimum 1 percent of votes required for Knesset representation.

Right-Wing Ultranationalist Parties

Tehiya (Renaissance--see Appendix B), an ultranationalist party, arose in 1979 in reaction to NRP and Likud support for the 1978 Camp David Accords and the 1979 Treaty of Peace Between Egypt and Israel. The party consisted of religious and secular leaders and activists of Gush Emunim and the Land of Israel Movement. The leaders and parliamentary representatives of Tehiya were Yuval Neeman, party chairman and former minister of science and technology in the Likud-led cabinet (1981-84); Geula Cohen, formerly of Herut; Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, head of the Kiryat Arba Yeshiva; Gershon Shafet; and Kiryat Arba's ultranationalist attorney Eliakim Haetzni. Former IDF Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan ranked among the party's leaders until 1984, when he left to form his own list, Tsomet. Tehiya's platform advocated the eventual imposition of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the transfer of the Palestinian inhabitants of these territories to Arab countries. In the 1984 elections, Tehiya gained five Knesset seats, an increase of two from 1981. In 1988, however, Tehiya lost two seats to the newly formed Tsomet and Moledet parties.

Tsomet (Crossroads) was an extreme right-wing ultranationalist party founded in 1984 by Eitan. It gained two seats in the 1988 Knesset elections.

Moledet (Homeland) ran in 1988 on an extremist platform advocating the forcible "transfer" of Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank to Arab states. Led by retired IDF General Rehavam (Ghandi) Zeevi, the party won two seats in the 1988 Knesset elections.

Kach (Thus), another ultranationalist party, came into being around Rabbi Meir Kahane, an American-born right-wing Orthodox extremist. Characterized as an internal dictatorship under Kahane, Kach has advocated the forcible expulsion of Arabs from Israel and the occupied territories, followed by the imposition of Israeli sovereignty there. A number of second-echelon party leaders have been implicated in Kach-supported terrorist activities. A terrorist attack on a bus carrying Arab passengers on Mount Hebron, near the town of Hebron, caused the imprisonment of Yehuda Richter, in second place on the Kach Knesset list. Avner Ozen, number four on Kach's 1984 list, was also imprisoned on terrorist charges. To counteract Kach's inflammatory political activities, in 1988 Likud and the Citizens' Rights Movement succeeded in passing a Basic Law empowering the Central Elections Board to prohibit a party advocating racism from contesting parliamentary elections in Israel and Kach was outlawed from participating in the November 1988 elections. Kach, largely funded by American supporters, had gained one seat in the 1984 elections after several earlier unsuccessful attempts to enter the Knesset.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress