Choose another year

Default Image

Note that the lists of candidates and platforms in this table are in Hebrew.

About the 1965 Elections

The elections for the Sixth Knesset were a very important test for Mapai in light of the internal shocks that the party had undergone in the course of the Fifth Knesset—shocks that had centered around the Lavon affair and the struggle between Ben-Gurion and the young members of the party on the one hand, and the party's veteran leadership, on the other. In early 1965, this internal strife reached its peak in the Mapai conference that was convened to discuss the party’s course. At the conference, the deep rift in the party was exposed. Several months later, Ben-Gurion announced his resignation and the establishment of Rafi. As a result, in the 1965 elections, Mapai ran for the first time without Ben-Gurion, and with Levi Eshkol as its head.

The 1965 elections mark the beginning of the formation of two large party blocs: on the left, Mapai and Ahdut Ha’Avoda ran in a single list called the Alignment (Ma’arach), while on the right, Herut and the Liberals ran in a single list called Gahal (Gush Herut Liberalim – the Herut-Liberals Bloc). The election campaign was the most prolonged and expensive the State of Israel had known until then, but the bitter election propaganda did not serve the united lists, and support for them declined.

In the elections for the Sixth Knesset, the Alignment won 45 seats, five fewer than the combined power of Mapai and Ahdut Ha’Avoda in the previous elections, and Gahal won 26 seats, eight fewer than the combined strength of Herut and the Liberals in the previous elections. Although Rafi received 10 seats, this was a bitter disappointment for Ben-Gurion, who had hoped for more, and it marked his gradual departure from the political arena. The religious and ultra-Orthodox parties were somewhat weakened, while Maki split into a Jewish party (that kept the name “Maki”) and a predominantly Arab party (Rakah). Many Arab votes went to Rakah, and this started a process that gradually led to the disappearance of Mapai's Arab satellites lists.

The 45 seats that the Alignment won limited Eshkol's coalition maneuverability, especially given his aversion to creating a partnership with Rafi or Gahal. This situation greatly strengthened the bargaining power of the National Religious Party (NRP). The coalition talks continued for over two months, and Eshkol was forced to ask the President for two extensions of time. The coalition that was eventually formed included five parliamentary groups (the Alignment, the NRP, Mapam, the Independent Liberals and Poalei Agudat Yisrael), and together with the Arab lists, the government had a majority of 75 members of Knesset.

On the eve of the Six Day War, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol expanded his coalition and formed Israel's first national unity government, by bringing Rafi and Gahal into the government. Following Eshkol's sudden death, a new government was formed in March 1969 by Golda Meir.

Elections for the 3rd Knesset


Number Eligible Voters


Electoral Threshold


Total Votes


Total Votes


Voter Turnout


Party Votes Count Number Of Seats Share Of Votes List Of Candidates Platform
Alignment 443,379 45 36.7 Candidates Candidates
Gahal 256,957 26 21.3 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
National Religious Party 107,966 11 8.9 Candidates Candidates
Rafi 42,654 10 7.9 Candidates Candidates
Mapam 79,985 8 6.6 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
Independent Liberals 45,299 5 3.8 Candidates Candidates
Agudat Yisrael 39,795 4 3.3 Candidates Candidates
Rakah 27,413 3 2.3 Candidates Candidates
Progress and Development 23,430 2 1.9 Candidates Candidates
Poalei Agudat Yisrael 22,066 2 1.8 Candidates Candidates
Shituf Ve-Ahva 16,034 2 1.3 Candidates Candidates
HaOlam HaZeh 14,124 1 1.2 Candidates Candidates
Maki 13,617 1 1.1 Candidates Candidates
Brotherhood Movement 11,244 - 0.9 Candidates Candidates
The Advanced List for Peace 5,536 - 0.5 Candidates Candidates
Nes 2,135 - 0.2 Candidates Candidates
Young Israel 1,990 - 0.2 Candidates Candidates