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Likud or ליכוד literally means consolidation. The Likud is a moderate right-wing Israeli political party.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Famous members
3 Ideological Positions
4 Current Status


The Likud's roots are Zeev Jabotinsky's national-liberal Beitar movement, who was the main opposition to the Socialist Mapai party.

The Likud was formed by the joining together of Free Center, La'am and Gahal in preparation for the 1973 elections. It was later merged with the liberal right-wing Herut to become Israel's right-wing party. It quickly became and remains to this day the conservative party in Israel.

The first Likud prime minister was Menachem Begin (elected 1977). A former leader of the hard-line paramilitary Irgun, he helped initiate the peace process with Egypt, which resulted in the Camp David Accords and the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. The second was Yitzhak Shamir, who first became PM in October 1983 following Begin's resignation. The third was Benjamin Netanyahu, elected in May 1996. The fourth is Ariel Sharon, elected October 2000. Sharon served as defence minister during Operation Peace for the Galilee (1982). His entire tenure was marked by the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Sharon was re-elected in January 2003 and continues to serve as prime minister.

Famous members


Past figures (deceased or retired):

Ideological Positions

Palestinian-related Issues

No single approach to Palestinian statehood, settlers, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip dominates Likud thought. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon supports a Palestinian state and evacuation of some settlements. Uzi Landau, Limor Livnat, and Netanyahu are strongly opposed to Palestinian statehood. Most Likud members strongly support the Israeli settlements in the disputed territories.


The Likud claims to support capitalist free-market economics, though in practice has mostly ruled as a European-style social democratic party with neo-liberal tendencies. Since coming to power in the late 70's, it has done little to reduce the tax burden, downsize the public sector or remove restrictive labour laws. On the other hand it has instituted free-trade (especially with the EU and US) and dismantled certain monopolies (Bezek, etc). Current Finance minister Netanyahu, the most ardent free-market minister to-date, argues that Israel's largest labor union, the Histadrut, has so much power as to paralyze the Israeli economy. He also argues that the main causes of unemployment are laziness and excessive benefits to the unemployed.


The Likud promotes Jewish-oriented culture, emphasizing such nationalist themes as the flag and the heroism that won Israel's
1949 war with seven Arab states. It advocates teaching values and behavior codes in childhood education. Likud endorses press freedom, and promotion of private-sector media, which have grown markedly under governments Likud has led.

Current Status

Likud originally enjoyed great support from blue-collar Sephardim who felt discriminated against by the ruling Mapai (Labour) party. To this day the Likud's strong support base remains amongst Sephardim and kippah sruga (middle-of-the-road) Orthodox.

Likud holds 40 seats (out of 120) in the 16th Knesset.

See also: