Gush Emunim ("Bloc of the Faithful", in Hebrew)
GUSH EMUNIM ("Bloc of the Faithful", in Hebrew)
Israeli extremist movement, founded in February 1974 by Rabbis Moshe Levinger and Chaim Druckmann. Starting up after a scission in the National Religious Party, where this current had been in existence since 1968, this organization mixed religious fundamentalism and fanatical nationalism, appointing itself the mission of colonizing the Arab territories that had just been reoccupied after the Yom Kippur War. Many settlers saw a messianic sign in the victory of the 1967 War and wanted to reawaken an enthusiasm that had somewhat subsided. Gush Emunim came into its own with the 1977 victory of Likud but withdrew its support in 1979, after the Israeli-Egyptian peace accord implied land restitution. In May 1984, anticipating the Knesset elections, Gush Emunim joined with the extremist nationalist party ha-Tehiya, which allowed them to win five seats. Internal dissension between moderates and religious ultranationalists weakened the Gush Emunim-Tehiya alliance, leading to the departure of many members, who decided to start new movements like Meimad, Oz Ve-Shalom, and Netivot Shalom. As a result of the elections of June 1988, occurring in the shadow of the Intifada, Gush Emunim obtained no seats, while ha-Tehiya held on to three. The principal leader of this movement, Rabbi Levinger, is also the spiritual guide of the extremist settlers who have taken up residence in Hebron.