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

About the 1984 Elections

In the summer of 1983, in the middle of the term of the 10th Knesset, and in the aftermath of the fighting in the first Lebanese War, Menachem Begin unexpectedly announced his resignation as Prime Minister, and from political life. Shortly after his announcement the Herut party Central Committee convened and chose Yitzhak Shamir as the new leader of the movement, and its candidate for prime minister. Once Shamir was elected, Begin officially resigned and the new government headed by Shamir was sworn in by the Knesset Even though the Shamir government could have served until the end of the term of the 10th Knesset in November 1985, , early elections were called due to political pressure.

Two main issues were the focus of the election campaign. The first was the continued presence of the IDF in Lebanon since the summer of 1982. The prolonged presence of IDF forces in a foreign country gave rise to a serious controversy in Israel, which manifested itself in stormy demonstrations and even in violence, which reached its peak with the murder of Emil Grunzweig during a Peace Now demonstration. The second issue was the serious economic crisis in the country. The economy was suffering from hyperinflation, and the rapid devaluation of the Shekel, and in October 1983, after the collapse of the bank shares, in the course of which tens of thousands of citizens lost their savings, the government ordered the closing down of the stock market for two weeks.

Twenty-six lists ran in the elections for the 11th Knesset, out of which 15 passed the electoral threshold. The Alignment entered the campaign from an advantageous starting point. Not only was the Shamir government unpopular and perceived as a failure, this time the Likud ran for the first time without Begin, and was subject to internal disputes. The Labor Party (the main component of the Alignment list), on the other hand, enjoyed unity in the ranks. However, despite these encouraging indications, both the Alignment and the Likud lost seats. After Yahad (a list headed by Ezer Weizman) decided to align itself with the Alignment, which was the largest parliamentary group in the new Knesset, and all the religious parties declared their allegiance to the Likud, the political system entered a state of numerical deadlock.

This time a particularly creative solution was required. The solution came in the form of a national unity government that operated on the basis of a rotation in the premiership. For first two years Shimon Peres would serve as Prime Minister and Yitzhak Shamir as Foreign Minister, and then they would switch positions. In practice, these were two separate governments, each serving for two years, though all the other ministers were to maintain their positions, including Yitzhak Rabin as Minster of Defense. In addition to the Alignment (from which Mapam split) and the Likud the two governments, with 25 ministers, included another six parliamentary groups, and was the largest government to that date.

Additional Reading

Asher Arian and Michal Shamir (eds.), The Elections in Israel 1984. New Brunswick: Transaction, 1986.

Daniel J. Elazar and Shmuel Sandler (eds.) Israel's Odd Couple: The 1984 Knesset Elections and the National Unity Government, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990.

Simha Flapan, "The 1984 Elections: Whither Israel?", World Policy Journal2 (2) (1985), pp. 331-350.

Henri Stellman, "Israel: The 1984 Election and After", Parliamentary Affairs38 (1) (1985), pp. 73-85.

Elections for the 11th 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 724,074 44 34.9 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
Likud 661,302 41 31.9 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
Tehiya 83,037 5 4.0 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
National Religious Party 73,530 4 3.5 Candidates Candidates
Hadash 69,815 4 3.4 Candidates Candidates
Shas 63,605 4 3.1 Candidates Candidates
Shinui 54,747 3 2.6 Candidates Candidates
Ratz 49,698 3 2.4 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
יחד-Yahad-1984 46,302 3 2.2 Candidates Candidates
Progressive List for Peace 38,102 2 1.8 Candidates Candidates
Agudat Yisrael 36,079 2 1.7 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
Morasha 33,287 2 1.6 Candidates Candidates
Tami 31,103 1 1.5 Candidates Candidates
Kach 25,907 1 1.2 Candidates Candidates
Ometz 23,845 1 1.2 Candidates Candidates
Aryeh Eliav 15,348 - 0.7 Candidates Candidates
מימד 12,329 - 0.6 Candidates Candidates
Movement for the Renewal of Social Zionism 5,876 - 0.3 Candidates Candidates
Aliyah and Youth Movement 5,794 - 0.3 Candidates Candidates
Shiluv 5,499 - 0.3 Candidates Candidates
Independence 4,887 - 0.2 Candidates Candidates
National Organization for the Protection of the Tenant 3,195 - 0.2 Candidates Candidates
Development and Peace 2,430 - 0.1 Candidates Candidates
Has Mas 1,472 - 0.1 Candidates Candidates
Movement for the Homeland 1,415 - 0.1 Candidates Candidates
Amkha 733 - 0.0 Candidates Candidates