Mapam

(United Workers Party)

 

Mapam

Founded in 1948

Mapam (Mifleget HaPoalim HaMeuhedet—the United Workers Party) was established in 1948 as a union between the workers’ party HaShomer HaTzair and the Ahdut HaAvoda–Poalei Tzion. In 1954, after the party split into its two component factions, Ahdut HaAvoda ran separately. The name Mapam was used by the party in the first six elections. From 1969 until 1984, it ran with the Labor Party in a joint list—the Labor Alignment (Ma'arach). A short time after the 1984 elections, Mapam left the Alignment in protest against the establishment of the national unity government with the Likud. In the 1988 elections for the 12th Knesset, Mapam again ran as an independent list. Prior to the 1992 elections, Mapam founded Meretz, together with Shinui and Ratz.

At the outset, Mapam was a workers' party, representing both the socialist settlement movement the National Kibbutz movement (Hakibbutz Ha'artzi) and the urban workers. It offered its supporters an array of services that included a youth movement (HaShomer HaTzair) and a daily newspaper (Al HaMishmar). In the early 1950s, Mapam adopted a radical Marxist economic line and called for the purging of capitalists, for the establishment of a revolutionary workers’ regime, and for class warfare. Over the years, especially after the death of Stalin, the party's unbending ideological line became more moderate, but it remained on the left side of the political spectrum on economic issues. On the question of international alignment, Mapam sided with the Communist bloc until 1955. From 1956 until 1967, the party called for neutralism. After the Six Day War, Mapam adopted a pro-Western position.

Of the two original components of Mapam, the members of HaShomer HaTzair advocated a bi-national state and were prepared for far-reaching compromises, while the members of Ahdut HaAvoda were more hawkish, with some actually supporting the idea of Greater Israel after the Six Day War. In 1954, after the party split and Ahdut HaAvoda resigned, Mapam became the most dovish Zionist party on the political map. Its positions became somewhat more centrist when it joined the Labor Alignment (Ma'arach). However, when Mapam resigned from the Alignment in 1984, it openly advocated the establishment of a Palestinian state.

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table
Election Year Votes Count Seats Count Votes Percent List Of Candidates Platform
1988 12 3 2.5 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
1965 6 8 6.6 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
1961 5 9 7.5 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
1959 4 9 7.2 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
1955 4 9 7.2 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
1951 2 15 12.5 Candidates Candidates Platform Platform
1949 1 19 14.7

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

Meir Ya’ari, Yaakov Hazan, Viktor Shem Tov, Yair Tzaban

 

Although Mapam was a workers' party and a natural partner for Mapai, in 1949 Ben-Gurion preferred to establish a coalition with the religious parties. Mapam remained in the opposition, entering the government for the first time only after the elections for the Third Knesset in 1955. Mapam members Mordechai Bentov and Yisrael Barzilai were appointed Minister of Development and Minister of Health, respectively. Mapam joined the coalition headed by Mapai after the 1959 elections as well, and its two Ministers continued to hold their portfolios. The party moved to the opposition in the course of the Fifth Knesset (1961–1965), but returned to the coalition in early 1966. Bentov and Barzilai once again served as Ministers and held the Housing and Health portfolios.