Israel Be-Aliyah (Israel with Immigration)
ISRAEL BE-ALIYAH (Israel with Immigration)
Israeli political party, founded in June 1995 by Anatoly (Natan) Sharansky to defend the social rights of immigrants from Russia. Its political platform, published on the following 1 November, affirmed the "inalienable right of the people of Israel over the land of Israel, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, including all of the West Bank"; and rejected the creation of a Palestinian state, but envisaged autonomy for the occupied territories.
As a result of the elections of 29 May 1996, the party obtained seven seats in the Knesset, with Anatoly Sharansky being named minister of commerce and industry in the government of Benjamin Netanyahu. In 1997 a police investigation revealed that Israel be-Aliyah had received financing from Grishka Lerner, presumed head of the Russian mafia in Israel. Between 1997 and 1998, Israel be-Aliyah lost some of the support of the community that had come from Russia, which reproached its leader for positions it thought too moderate. On 18 May 1999, as a result of the elections, which saw the victory of Ehud Barak, Israel be-Aliyah won six seats. On 6 July, Sharansky became minister of the interior, and Marina Solodkin became deputy minister of immigrant absorption in Barak's cabinet. In December the leadership of the party threatened the government with withdrawing its support in case of negotiations on the Israeli retreat from the Golan Heights. In February 2001, the party supported the leader of Likud, Ariel Sharon, for the post of prime minister, against Ehud Barak, who lost the elections. On the following 7 March, Sharansky became minister of housing and construction in Sharon' cabinet. The main figures in the party are Sharansky, Yuli Edelstein, Roman Bronfman, Vera Golavensky, Solodkin, Yuri Stern, and Felix Aushrenko. The party supports a democratized Palestinian Authority as an essential element of the peace process. In the 2003 elections, it received 2.2 percent of the vote and two seats in the Knesset.