Founded in 1965
Rafi (Reshimat Poalei Yisrael—The Israeli Workers List) was founded in 1965 after David Ben-Gurion and a group of his associates left Mapai. The split occurred due to Ben-Gurion’s fight to reopen the investigation into the Lavon Affair, his opposition to Mapai's running on a joint list with Ahdut HaAvoda, and his concerns about the leadership skills of Levi Eshkol. Most of the members of Rafi were the young generation of Mapai—including Moshe Dayan, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Navon—who felt that the veteran leadership was constricting their freedom of operation. Challenging this veteran leadership, the young generation championed a more pragmatic and less idealistic approach. Rafi’s platform did not mention the word “socialism,” and the party emphasized its demand for change in the election system. On issues of foreign policy and state security, Rafi was more hawkish than Mapai, and took more activist approaches.
The party ran in the 1965 elections for the Sixth Knesset and won 10 seats. Since it did not become a member of the coalition, it acted in cooperation with Gahal. The two parties insisted on Moshe Dayan’s appointment as Minister of Defense during the period leading up to the Six Day War, and both joined the national unity government on the eve of the war. After the war, most Rafi members joined Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda to form the Labor Party. Several former Rafi members established successor lists, which included the State List.