Note that the lists of candidates and platforms in this table are in Hebrew.
About the 1981 Elections
It is customary to view the election campaign for the 10th Knesset in 1981 as the most tense and violent in Israel's history. These elections reflected extreme ethnic tension, and—more than in any election campaign before or since—there was a strong correlation between ethnic origin and voting patterns. Most of the Ashkenazim stood behind Shimon Peres and the Alignment, whereas most Israelis of Sephardic (Mizrahi) origins supported Menachem Begin and the Likud.
The four years preceding the elections, during which the Likud, headed by Menachem Begin, led the government for the first time in Israel's history, were filled with historic events. The government’s term began with the visit of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Israel in 1977, and in 1979, the peace treaty with Egypt was signed. However, once the euphoria died down, the government began to falter and disintegrate. Two Ministers, Moshe Dayan and Ezer Weizman, resigned from the government due to disagreements regarding the continuation of the peace process. In the economic sphere, the government was also not particularly successful, and its liberalizing measures led to inflation that reached a peak in the mid-1980s. In addition, the Prime Minister suffered from health problems, and was hospitalized a number of times. In the second half of the term of the Ninth Knesset, public opinion surveys showed that the Likud's standing had reached a low point. Many saw the historic upheaval in which the Alignment lost its power as a temporary deviation that would be rectified in the coming elections, when they believed the Alignment would return to its natural role as the ruling party.
When early elections were called in 1981, the Alignment had a double-digit advantage over the Likud. However, there was a gradual erosion of this advantage. The election campaign was characterized by a great deal of tension, and violent events were not uncommon, especially during election rallies held by the Alignment. As Election Day drew near, Prime Minister Begin regained his health, and managed to rouse the public at the election rallies at which he appeared. Three weeks before the election, Begin approved an Israeli air strike on the Iraqi nuclear installation, which was soon to have become active. This successful attack reinstated his popularity.
Of the 31 lists that ran in the elections, only 10 entered the Knesset. The elections were very close, and only 10,000 votes separated the number of voters for Likud and for the Alignment. In the wake of the 1981 elections, the two largest parties held a record high of 95 seats. The Dash party vanished from the political scene, and the National Religious Party lost half of its power, particularly to the benefit of the Sephardi Tami and the Right wing Tehiya parties.
The Alignment together with its potential partners held only 56 seats, and thus did not have a preventive bloc (a bloc that prevents anyone else from forming a government), which would have enabled it to form a government. The right wing bloc held a majority, but since the Tehiya party refused to join a government that was about to evacuate settlements in the Sinai, Prime Minister Begin was forced to form a narrow coalition supported by only 61 MKs. In addition to the Likud, this coalition included the National Religious Party, Tami, and Agudat Yisrael.
Asher Arian (ed.) The Elections in Israel, 1981, 1983, New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction.
Howard R. Penniman and Daniel J. Elazar (eds.), Israel at the Polls, 1981: A Study of the Knesset Elections, 1986, Bloomington, Indiana University Press.
Don Peretz and Sammy Smooha, “Israel’s Eleventh Knesset Election,”Middle East Journal, 1985, Vol. 39, No.1, pp. 86–103.
Elections for the 10th Knesset
Number Eligible Voters
|Party||Votes Count||Number Of Seats||Share Of Votes||List Of Candidates||Platform|
|National Religious Party||95,232||6||4.9||Candidates|
|Poalei Agudat Yisrael||17,090||-||0.9||Candidates|
|United Arab List||11,590||-||0.6||Candidates|
|Arab Brotherhood List||8,304||-||0.4||Candidates|
|List for Aliyah||6,992||-||0.4||Candidates|
|Arab Citizens' List||2,596||-||0.1||Candidates|
|Abolish Income Tax||503||-||0.0||Candidates|
|Council to Rescue the Homeland||405||-||0.0||Candidates|