The Israeli Labour Party in opposition and in the National Unity Government, 1977-1992
The Israel Labour Party and its forerunner Mapai dominated both the pre-state Jewish organisations in Palestine and the early years of the state of Israel prior to 1977. This thesis covers the period between 1977 and 1992 which saw the party’s first electoral defeat (1977) and its eventual return to power (1992). It will argue that during this period the Labour Party was transformed from a dominant party with power (prior to 1977) to a dominant party without power (1977-1981). The years between 1981 and 1992 witnessed the development a more competitive party system in Israel with the Labour Party's status being transformed to that of a non- dominant party either without power (1981-1984 and 1990-1992) or with a share of power during the National Unity Government years (1984-1990).A central theme of the thesis is the continuing "conditioning effects" of the period of dominance in shaping the Labour Party's development, even after it was no longer considered to be a dominant party. This was also in part related to the problem of defining political power in Israel as the Labour Party after its defeat in the parliamentary election in 1977 continued to enjoy a high degree of penetration into the everyday life of the population through its continued control of key institutions in Israel. The thesis is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the period prior to 1977 and examines the development of the labour movement within the dynamic Israeli society as well as the Labour's Party's (Mapai's) relationship with the Israeli political system. In addition, it analyses the existing frameworks for explaining the decline of the Labour Party which was illustrated by its election defeat in 1977. The second part examines the developments of the party between 1977 and 1992 and is divided into historical periods which cover the various changes of government.