Independent Liberal Party

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INDEPENDENT LIBERAL PARTY , Israeli political party established in 1965 by members of the Israel Liberal Party who refused to join *Gaḥal, a parliamentary group formed by the *Ḥerut movement and the Israel Liberal Party. Most of the members of the Independent Liberal Party had previously been members of the Progressive Party, which in 1961 had united with the *General Zionists to form the Israel Liberal Party.

The Progressive Party was established in 1948, with the unification of Aliyah Ḥadashah ("New Immigration"), which represented mostly settlers from Germany and Central Europe, Hitaḥadut ha-Ẓiyyonim ha-Kelali'im, the progressive wing of the General Zionists, which supported Chaim *Weizmann's policy and cooperated with the labor movement, and Ha-Oved ha-Ẓiyyoni, the General Zionist faction in the *Histadrut. The Progressives had received between 4 and 6 seats in the First to Fifth Knessets, and except for the years 1952–53 were represented in all governments until 1961 as well as on the *Jewish Agency Executive. Within the Israel Liberal Party the former Progressives were generally viewed as more moderate in their political views and liberal in the social-human rights sense, while the General Zionists were more nationalist in their political views and liberal in the free market sense.

The Independent Liberal Party was elected to the Sixth to Ninth Knessets and ran as part of the Alignment in the Eleventh Knesset, with the number of its representatives progressively falling from 5 to 1. It was a member of all the Labor-led governments from the Sixth to Eighth Knessets. Its representatives in the government were Moshe *Kol, who served as minister of development (as long as that ministry existed) and tourism, and Gideon *Hausner, who served as minister without portfolio. The Independent Liberals called for the subordination of sectional and partisan to national interests, advocated the coexistence and cooperation of different economic sectors, urged the consolidation of the welfare state, and sought to strengthen the Zionist movement. It also favored the enactment of a constitution that would define the rights and duties of the citizen and was opposed to any form of religious coercion, calling for the separation of religion and state.

The Independent Liberals had their own faction in the Histadrut, where it advocated that wages be a function of the worker's education and qualifications, compulsory arbitration in cases of labor disputes in the public sector, and the institution of national health insurance. The Independent Liberal Party was affiliated with the Liberal International. In the elections to the Eleventh Knesset in 1984 the Independent Liberals ran within the Alignment list, and its representative, Yitzhak Arẓi was elected. Towards the end of the Eleventh Knesset Arẓi left the Alignment and joined the Shinui parliamentary group. Towards the end of the 1980s the Independent Liberals ceased to exist.

[Pinchas Rosen /

Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]

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Independent Liberal Party

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Independent Liberal Party