Israeli_legislative_election,_1981

Israeli legislative election, 1981

Elections for the tenth Knesset were held in Israel on 30 June, 1981. Despite last minute polls suggesting a victory for Shimon Peres's Alignment, Menachem Begin's Likud won by just one seat. Voter turnout was 77.8%.

Results

Party Votes % Seats at start
of session
Seats at
end of session
Likud 1 718,941 37.1% 48 46
Alignment 1 4 708,536 36.6% 47 49
National Religious Party 2 5 95,232 4.9% 6 5
Agudat Israel 72,312 3.7% 4 4
Hadash 64,918 3.4% 4 4
Tami 44,918 2.3% 3 3
Tehiya 40,700 2.3% 3 3
Telem 3 30,600 1.6% 2 0
Shinui 29,837 1.5% 2 2
Ratz 4 27,921 1.4% 1 1
Non-qualifiers 103,451 5.3% - -
Total valid votes 1,937,366 100%
Rafi – National List 3 - - 0 1
Movement for the Renewal of Social Zionism 3 - - 0 1
Haim Druckman 2 - - 0 1
Gesher – Zionist Religious Centre 5 - - 0 0

1 Two MKs defected from Likud to the Alignment.

2 Haim Druckman left the National Religious Party and sat as an independent MK.

3 Telem split into Ometz and the Movement for the Renewal of Social Zionism.

4 Ratz joined the Alignment but then broke away again.

5 Two MKs left the National Religious Party and formed Gesher – Zionist Religious Centre before returning to the NRP two weeks later.

Non-qualifiers

The following parties ran for election, but did not pass the electoral threshold of 1% (19,373 votes):

Kach however would get one seat in the 1984 elections after many unsuccesful runs. It is notable that no solely Israeli Arab parties were elected to the tenth Knesset (despite its largely Arab support, Hadash is a mixed party, and included the Jewish Meir Vilner amongst its MKs), the only occasion on which this has happened.

The Tenth Knesset

The nineteenth government was formed by Menachem Begin on 5 August, 1981, including Likud, the National Religious Party, Agudat Israel, Tami and Telem, and had 17 ministers. Tehiya joined the coalition on 26 August, upping the total to 18 ministers. Likud's Menachem Savidor was appointed Speaker of the Knesset. One of the government's first acts was to pass a bill annexing the Golan Heights. It also oversaw the Lebanon War and the subsequent Sabra and Shatila massacre, which resulted in Defence Minister Ariel Sharon losing his job. The country was also hit by several economic crises, including the collapse of most of the banking sector and hyper-inflation. Meanwhile, the religious parties (NRP and Agudat Israel) managed to pass a law banning state airline El Al from flying on Shabbat.

Yitzhak Shamir formed the 20th government on 10 October, 1983 after Begin had resigned for health reasons. He included the same parties in his coalition, but with 20 ministers. The next elections were held on 23 July, 1984.

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