Herut-Liberals Bloc


Founded in  1965

Gahal (an acronym for Gush Herut Liberalim, the Herut–Liberals Bloc) was established in 1965 prior to the elections for the Sixth Knesset as a joint list of the Herut movement and the Liberal Party. The establishment of the party was based on a desire to create a central bloc on the center-right of the political map, which would serve as a counter to the workers parties and as an effective governing alternative. In this respect, the formation of Gahal was part of the process or consolidating two large blocs in Israeli politics, a process that took place in the mid-1960's.

Menachem Begin, the leader of Herut, headed the Gahal list. The rest of the list was comprised of alternating members from the Liberals and Herut, the two founding parties. The great hopes that accompanied the establishment of Gahal were dashed in the elections, when the list received only 26 seats, eight fewer than the combined number of seats of the two parties had received in the previous Knesset. However, early in June 1967, on the eve of the Six Day War, Gahal was invited to join the government of Levi Eshkol. For the first time, Menachem Begin served as a minister in the government of Israel. In the period leading up to the elections for the eighth Knesset (1973), Gahal became the central component of the Likud. Herut and the Liberal Party continued to preserve their independent organizational status until the late 1980s.

Election Year Votes Count Number Of Seats Share Of Votes List Of Candidates Platform
1969 296,294 26 21.7 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
1965 256,957 26 21.3 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform

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


Menachem Begin, Yosef Sapir

On the eve of the Six Day War, Gahal was invited to join the Eshkol government, and was given two ministerial positions: Menachem Begin and Yosef Sapir were appointed as ministers without portfolio. They continued to serve in as ministers in the government of Golda Meir, which was established in early 1969 following the death of Prime Minister Eshkol. After the elections for the Seventh Knesset, Gahal’s representation in the government increased to six ministers: Menachem Begin and Arieh Dulchin served as ministers without portfolio, Yosef Sapir was appointed Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ezer Weizmann served as Minister of Transportation, Chaim Landau was appointed Minister of Development, and Elimelech Rimalt served as Minister of the Postal Services. All six resigned from the government in the summer of 1970 because of political differences with Prime Minister Golda Meir.