Area Handbook for Israel

By Harvey H. Smith; Frederica M. Bunge et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 14
POLITICAL DYNAMICS

After the Israeli military victory in the Six-Day War of June 1967, political changes of comparable magnitude did not result. Discussions then became centered on a long-term policy for management and administration of the territories seized in the war, on attitudes toward the continued problem of a negotiated settlement with the Arab states, and on measures for coping with the Arab guerrilla campaign mounted from the border areas by Palestinian Arab groups owing allegiance to no legally constituted Arab state (see ch. 15, Foreign Relations; ch. 27, Public Order and Internal Security). External and internal political ramifications of these problems were extensive. There was general agreement in Israel that a settlement could not be accepted that was imposed or managed by external great-power arrangements and there was continued affirmation of the long-standing Israeli position calling for solution by direct negotiations with the Arab states. Differences within Israel, however, prevailed between those favoring the maintenance of some degree of flexibility in which diplomatic or political maneuver might be possible and those favoring a harder line of independent Israeli action.

Although the need for policy determination on these questions was recognized as urgent, decisionmaking was inhibited by the approach of elections to the Seventh Knesset scheduled for October 28, 1969, and further by the death of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol on February 26, 1969 (see ch. 13, The Governmental System). Internal political cleavages were revealed but were suppressed in the process of leadership succession and confirmation of Golda Meir as prime minister on March 17, 1969. The Meir cabinet, unchanged in representation from that of Eshkol, was, in consequence, a continuity government of national unity. Although prepared to explore and develop any situation that might arise favorable to the national interest, the cabinet was charged primarily to maintain security and status quo in the interim before the election.

Political life in Israel is characterized by a long-standing fragmentation into multiple parties, falling into four broad categories: labor, nationalist, religious, and other, or miscellaneous, parties. Alignments and coalitions have frequently formed and shifted from time to time. The labor parties, basically socialist and secular in

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Area Handbook for Israel
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • COUNTRY SUMMARY vii
  • Contents xi
  • SECTION I. SOCIAL 1
  • Chapter 2 - PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT 13
  • Chapter 3 Historical Setting 29
  • Chapter 4 - POPULATION 55
  • Chapter 5 Ethnic Groups and Languages 67
  • Chapter 6 Social Structures 75
  • Chapter 7 Family 89
  • CHAPTER 8 - LIVING CONDITIONS 98
  • Chapter 9 - EDUCATION 113
  • Chapter 10 - ARTISTIC AND INTELLECTUAL EXPRESSION 131
  • Chapter 12 - SOCIAL VALUES 153
  • SECTION II. POLITICAL 163
  • Chapter 14 - POLITICAL DYNAMICS 187
  • Chapter 15 Foreign Relations 209
  • Chapter 16 - PUBLIC INFORMATION 221
  • Chapter 17 - POLITICAL VALUES AND ATTITUDES 239
  • Chapter 18 - BIOGRAPHIES OF SELECTED KEY PERSONALITIES 255
  • SECTION III. ECONOMIC 273
  • Chapter 20 Agriculture 285
  • Chapter 21 Industry 299
  • Chapter 22 Labor 311
  • Chapter 23 - DOMESTIC TRADE 333
  • Chapter 24 - FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS 345
  • Chapter 25 Financial and Monetary System 357
  • SECTION IV. NATIONAL SECURITY 369
  • Chapter 27 - PUBLIC ORDER AND INTERNAL SECURITY 397
  • Index 447
  • PUBLISHED AREA HANDBOOKS 457
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