Labor Party

(Mifleget Havodah in Hebrew) An Israeli political party, first named Mapai, which emerged out of the Labor Zionist movement of the 1930s, and was based on socialist ideas. The party’s leaders included many of the principal founders of the State of Israel, including the first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. Labor, which considers itself a social democratic and Zionist party, dominated the Israeli government until 1977, when the rival Likud Party came into power. Labor came to power again in the 1990s, emerging as the leading Israeli political party favoring territorial compromise for peace and the party that first officially recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization. However, settlement expansion and other entrenched elements of occupation continued under Labor-led governments as much as (and in some instances even more than) the center-right Likud-led governments. After the collapse of the Oslo Process and the onset of the Second Intifada, Labor lost control of the Prime Ministership. In 2006, several key Labor Partymembers joined with Likud Party members to form the Kadima party, and in 2011, Labor Chairman Ehud Barak broke away with four other Labor Party lawmakers to form the Independence party. See "Labor," YNet News, February 1, 2008; "Israel’s Labor Party splits; Ehud Barak forms new faction," Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times, January 17, 2011; and "Israel’s New Labor Leader Faces a Party in Decline," Isabel Kershner, The New York Times, September 22, 2011.

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