Sephardim and Oriental Communities
- Sephardim and Oriental Communities
Sephardim and Oriental Communities ( _he. ספרדים ועדות מזרח, "Sfaradim VeEdot Mizrah") was a political party in Israel and is one of the ancestors of the modern-day Likud party.
The Sephardim and Oriental Communities party represented Sephardi Jews and Mizrahi Jews who were already living in Israel at the time of independence, and was part of Minhelet HaAm and the Provisional government in 1948-49.
Under the full title of "The National Unity List of Sephardim and Oriental Communities", the party gained 3.5% of the vote and four seats in the elections for the first Knesset in 1949. [ [http://www.knesset.gov.il/description/eng/eng_mimshal_res1.htm Constituent Assembly (which later turned into the First Knesset)] Knesset website] Represented by Moshe Ben-Ami, Eliahu Eliashar, Avraham Elimalech and Bechor-Shalom Sheetrit, they joined the government as a coalition partner of David Ben-Gurion's Mapai party, with Sheetrit appointed Minister of Police. [ [http://www.knesset.gov.il/govt/eng/GovtByNumber_eng.asp?govt=1 First Knesset: Government 1] Knesset website]
For the 1951 election, the party changed its name to "The list of Sephardim and Oriental Communities, Old Timers and Immigrants". However, they lost around half their share of the vote (1.8%) and half their seats, slumping to just two representatives. Only Eliashar retained his seat, with Binyamin Sasson taking the second. This time they did not join the government.
On 10 September 1951 the party was merged into the General Zionists, then the second largest party in the Knesset and briefly a member of the governing coalition that made up the fourth and fifth governments (though they were expelled from the sixth after abstaining from a motion of no-confidence).
Some party members were not happy about joining the General Zionists and broke away to reform the party. They contested the 1955 and 1959 elections, but failed to win a seat.
Later on, the General Zionists merged with the Progressive Party to form the Liberal Party, which was briefly the third largest party in Israel before merging again with Herut to form Gahal, which eventually became Likud.
* [http://www.knesset.gov.il/faction/eng/FactionPage_eng.asp?PG=89 Party history] Knesset website
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