vrijdag 8 mei 2009

Politieke partijen in Israel

Israel kent vele politieke partijen.
Hieronder meer over de partijen die meededen in de verkiezingen.

  Political Parties in Israel

About 10 to 15 parties, representing dramatically diverse political views, have been elected to every Knesset (Israeli Parliament, comprising 120 seats).  Following are the political parties with seats in the 18th Knesset  (elected Feb. 24, 2009)

Likud (27 seats), a Hebrew word meaning “consolidation,” is Israel’s major conservative party. Its leaders tend to support Israeli settlements and reject proposals to divide Jerusalem. Like its political rivals, Likud seeks peace agreements with Israel’s neighbors, conditioned on reciprocal efforts to stop terrorist activities within Israel’s borders. The party also advocates a pro-capitalist, free-market economy.  Likud is the head of the current coalition government, and its party leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, is the current Prime Minister of Israel.

Kadima (28 seats), a Hebrew word meaning “forward,” was formed in 2005 by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a centrist bloc with a mission of unilaterally disengaging from the Gaza Strip. Sharon suffered a brain hemorrhage on Jan. 4, 2006. Ehud Olmert, deputy prime minister at the time, led the party to victory in 2006. Under Olmert, the former prime minister, Kadima became the largest party in the Knesset.

Yisrael Beytenu (15 seats), which translates from Hebrew to ‘Israel Our Home’ is a right-wing party established in 1999 by Avigdor Lieberman, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union. The party became the fifth-largest parliamentary faction following the 2006 general elections, with more than half of Israel’s Russian immigrants voting for it.  In the 18th Knesset, the party represents the third largest faction, and is a key member of the current coalition government. The party’s two core principles include encouraging socio-economic opportunities for new immigrants and taking a hard line in negotiations with the Palestinians and with Arab states.

Labor  (13 seats) The center-left party has been one of Israel's two dominant blocs (along with Likud and its predecessors) since the founding of the state in 1948. Labor leaders tend to support negotiating with Palestinians and dismantling most Israeli settlements in the West Bank in exchange for peace. The Labor platform emphasizes liberal social and economic policies and a strong defense. In 2005, Labor joined the Likud coalition to implement Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. In 2006 it became Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s most important coalition partner. In 2009, the party slipped in the polls, but joined the coalition government of Bibi Netanyahu, leaving party leader Ehud Barak in place as the Minister of Defense.

Shas (11 seats), an acronym for ‘Sephardic Guardians of the Torah,’ represents primarily ultra-Orthodox Jews who immigrated to Israel from other Middle Eastern countries and North Africa. In the 2006 elections, Shas tied with Likud for the third-highest number of seats in the Knesset, an unprecedented occurrence. Shas has a socially conservative agenda, while also supporting generous welfare payments, especially for students of religious seminaries. Its policy toward Palestinian Arabs has been relatively flexible. Shas often holds the balance of power among the major parliamentary blocs, enabling it to maximize its influence.

Yahadut HaTorah Hameukhedet  (5 seats), Hebrew for ‘United Torah Judaism,’ is an alliance of two small, ultra-Orthodox political parties. It represents the growing ultra-Orthodox community.  It opposes the separation of religion and state, drafting young ultra-Orthodox men into the military and any change in the nation’s laws that prohibit most businesses from opening on Saturdays and holidays. The party has been highly successful in securing financial aid for the ultra-Orthodox community, including government stipends for large families. 

Hadash  (4 seats) is the Hebrew word for ”new” as well as the Hebrew acronym for ‘The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality.’ It is a left-wing party with roots in Israel's anti-Zionist Communist Party and defines itself as a “Jewish-Arab party.” The main points of Hadash's platform include an Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 borders; establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel; the separation of religion and state; the full realization of rights for Israel’s Arab citizens; a Palestinian "right of return" to Israeli territory; encouraging Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and lobbying for workers’ rights. 

Ha'ichud Ha'leumi (4seats), which translates from Hebrew to ‘The National Union,’ is a right-wing coalition of three small parties. In the 2006 elections, the party ran on a joint list with the National Religious Party. Its platform emphasizes maintaining a strong Jewish national identity, extending Israeli sovereignty over disputed territories and rejecting the concept of a Palestinian state. 

Ra'am-Ta'al (4 seats), the Hebrew acronym for ‘United Arab List- Arab Movement for Renewal,’ is the largest Arab party in the Knesset and endorses an end to what it considers the Israeli occupation of the territories. It supports the creation of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The party calls for dismantling all Israeli settlements, including those in the Golan Heights and along Israel’s border with Lebanon (land it contends belongs to Lebanon).  

The party supports the separation of religion and state, the “right of return” within Israeli borders for Palestinian refugees, and the dismantling of all nuclear weapons in the world, in particular Israel.  Ra’am-Ta’al calls for the recognition of Israeli Arabs as a national minority and believes that Arabs should not be recruited to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Ra'am-Ta’al believes that Israel should give Islamic religious courts greater freedom in performing judicial duties, especially among the Israeli-Arab Shi’ite communities. In addition, the movement calls for an increase in the budget for subsidizing all holy places belonging to the Muslims, Christians and Druze.  The party enjoys particular popularity among the Bedouin population.

Balad (3 seats), is the Hebrew acronym for ‘National Democratic Assembly,’ and was established in 1996. Balad advocates that Israel should not be a Jewish state, but rather a democratic, secular state. The party favors Israel's withdrawal from all remaining Palestinian territories and a two-state solution, in which a non-Jewish state with Arab and Jewish residents exists alongside a Palestinian state.  Balad demands that the Israeli government grant Arabs full autonomy in such areas as culture and education.

New Movement-Meretz (3 seats, formerly Meretz-Yachad), a Hebrew acronym for ‘Social-Democratic Party,’ is a left-wing alliance that supports a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians based on a two-state solution as outlined in the Geneva Accord. The party is also concerned with human rights issues, minority rights, women’s rights, social justice and environmentalism. New Movement-Meretz is closely associated with Peace Now, a left-wing, non-governmental organization.


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