Mizrahi

(HaMizrachi)

 

Mizrahi

Founded in 1902

Founded in 1902, the Mizrahi party was one of two parties that established the National Religious Party (Mafdal), The party's founder, Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Reines, created Mizrahi in reaction to the decision of the Zionist Congress to add education to the responsibilities of the Zionist Organization—a move that Reines feared would allow the secular majority to dictate the educational policy of the Zionist movement. The party began its activity in pre-state Israel before World War I, when it established a wide network of religious-Zionist schools and supported cultural institutions.

The Mizrahi party played an active role in the life of the Yishuv and in its elected institutions, and initiated the establishment of the Chief Rabbinate. Although it maintained a longstanding alliance with the leftist Mapai, Mizrahi was actually the right-wing branch of the two parties that made up religious Zionism (the other being HaPoel Hamizrahi). This was true both politically (most of its leaders opposed both the partition plan in the late 1930s and the policy of restraint) and economically (its voters were mostly from the middle class).

In the first election, Mizrahi ran together with three other parties as part of the "United Religious Front," with its leader, Yehuda Leib Maimon, as head of the joint list. Following  Front's dissolution in the middle of the first Knesset's term, Mizrahi ran independently in the 1951 elections for the Second Knesset. In 1955, prior to the elections for the Third Knesset, Mizrahi joined a list with HaPoel HaMizrahi called "The National Religious Front." A year later, this list became the National Religious Party (the Mafdal).

table
Election Year Votes Count Seats Count Votes Percent List Of Candidates Platform
1951 2 2 1.5 Candidates Candidates

Note that the candidates in this table are in Hebrew.

Meir Bar-Ilan, Yehuda Leib Maimon, David Zvi Pinkas

 

The Mizrahi party was a member of the two governments that served during the first Knesset, during which time Yehuda Leib Maimon headed the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The second Knesset also had two governments. In the first, Mizrahi held one ministry; David Zvi Pinkas served as a minister in that government until his death, at which point Mordechai Nurok became the minister for Mizrahi. When that government fell, Mizrahi remained in the coalition, but did not have a minister in the government.