Meimad (Dimension, in Hebrew)

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MEIMAD (Dimension, in Hebrew)

Israeli religious political party, created in 1988 by Rabbi Yehuda Amital as a Zionist religious alternative the National Religious Party (NRP), considered to be too nationalist. This center-left party supports the idea of a territorial compromise in exchange for peace with the Palestinians. In the elections of 1988 Meimad obtained no seats in the Knesset. In November 1995, when the Shimon Peres government was being constituted following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Rabbi Yehuda Amital was named minister without portfolio.

Since that time, the leadership of Meimad has hoped to create a center bloc. In February 1996, looking forward to the Knesset elections of the following May, Meimad supported Peres in his candidacy for the post of prime minister against Benjamin Netanyahu, who won the elections. In February 1998 the death of the NRP leader Zevulun Hammer prompted many of the members who had left the NRP in the 1988 split to rejoin. On 22 March 1999, anticipating the Knesset elections, Meimad decided to ally itself with the Israel Labor Party and Gesher to create the "One Israel" (Israel Ahat) coalition. The following May, this list won twenty-six seats, while the head of the Labor Party, Ehud Barak, became prime minister. A few weeks later Rabbi Michael Melchior, one of the main leaders of Meimad, was named minister without portfolio in charge of relations with the diaspora.

In 2000 the Gesher members left One Israel, leaving Labor and Meimad allied. In March 2001, when the head of Likud, Ariel Sharon, was elected prime minister, Melchior was named deputy minister of diaspora affairs. The Labor-Meimad coalition had nineteen seats in the 2003 Knesset. As of 2004 the leaders of Meimad are Yehuda Amital, Michael Melchior, Aviezer Ravitsky, Tova Ilan, Benjamin Segal, and Jonathan Shiff.

SEE ALSO Barak, Ehud;Gesher "Bridge" Party;Israel Labor Party;Likud;National Religious Party;One Israel;Peres, Shimon;Rabin, Yitzhak;Sharon, Ariel;Third Way.

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Meimad (Dimension, in Hebrew)

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