MAPAM (Mifleget Po'alim Me'uhedet)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

MAPAM (Mifleget Po'alim Me'uhedet)

Israeli radical socialist party, created in 1944 by dissident members of MAPAI. The ha-Shomer ha-Tzaʿir ("the Young Guard") later joined this new political party.

In January, 1949 MAPAM won 19 of the 120 seats in the first Knesset elections. This made it the second most important Israeli political party after MAPAI which won 46 seats. During this time, MAPAM, considered to be an extreme leftist group piloted by the ha-Shomer ha-Tza'ir, greatly influenced the Kibbutzim.

In 1954 there was a split in the party with former members of ha-Shomer ha-Tzaʿir remaining in MAPAM and former members of Ahdut ha-Avodah-Poʿalei-Tziyon forming Ahdut ha-Avodah. Other MAPAM members left to join MAPAI or the Communist Party, further weakening MAPAM, but after creating an alliance with the Labor Party (ILP) in October 1969, the unified parties won a total of 56 Knesset seats, leading to a government coalition. By June 1974 two MAPAM members, Messrs. Shemtov and Rosen, had joined the Rabin government as ministers of health and immigrant absorption. MAPAM continued to back the Labor Party until 1984 when the National Unity accord was signed by the ILP and Likud.

In November 1986 MAPAM leaders participated in an meeting in Romania that brought together Jewish and Arab intellectuals from Israel and Palestine who favored peace. This led to MAPAM basing its platform for the 1988 Knesset elections on the principle of "the territories in exchange for peace." In 1992 MAPAM leadership decided to ally with the Movement for Civil Rights and Peace (RATZ) and the Shinui Party to form the Meretz parliamentary bloc and Labor's primary partner in the government coalition. This left-wing coalition won 61 seats in the June 1992 Knesset elections, with Meretz winning 12 of those seats. Subsequently, four important Meretz figures joined the government of Yitzhak Rabin, one of these being MAPAM leader Yaïr Tsaban, who was appointed minister of immigration.

In October 1993 Hadash and the Progressive List for Peace made common cause with MAPAM during the municipal elections. In the Knesset elections of 1996, which saw the victory of Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, Meretz won nine seats, three of which went to MAPAM. Three years later when Ehud Barak, head of the Labor Party, won the elections, Meretz obtained ten seats, two of whom joined the new government as ministers of education and of commerce. This alliance was reversed on 21 June 2000 when Meretz decided to leave the cabinet of Ehud Barak because of concessions his administration had made to the ultra-Orthodox party SHAS. In the 2003 elections Meretz received 5.2 percent of the vote or six seats in the Knesset.

SEE ALSO Ha-Shomer ha-Tzaʿir; Likud; MAPAI; Meretz Party; Movement for Civil Rights and Peace; Progressive List for Peace; Rabin, Yitzhak; SHAS, Shinui Party.