Labor, Israel's center-left
political party is a social democratic and Zionist party. Founded in 1968, Israeli labor is a member of the Socialist International and an observer member of the Party of European Socialists.
Labor was formed after several parties, including then-governing party Mapai, joined together under Levi Eshkol's
Labor made history when in 1969 Golda Meir,
then party secretary-general, was named the country's third prime minister and Israel's first – and only – woman prime minister to date.
Although in the elections following the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War she
led Labor to victory, Meir resigned in 1974. Yitzhak Rabin was voted Labor chief in her place.
In 1977, the party lost power to the Likud, headed by Menachem Begin. The party joined forces with Likud for national unity governments in the 1980s, and regained power in 1992, headed by Yitzhak Rabin,
who was later assassinated by Yigal Amir. Before that, Rabin signed the Oslo Agreement, paving the way for the creation of the Palestinian Authority.
Labor saw tumultuous times following Rabin's assassination, as the inner rivalries riddled the party. Immediately after the assassination, Shimon Peres took over the party, but lost the following elections. Ehud Barak was
then elected to his first tenure as Labor chief leading Labor to its 1999 victory in the general elections.
In 1999, Labor allied with the smaller, left-wing, religious zionist Meimad party. According to the bipartisan agreement, Meimad gets the tenth seat on Labor's list in each election.
Barak stepped down after loosing the 2001 general elections to Ariel Sharon.
Shimon Peres was named temporary chairman of Labor.
The 2001 Labor primaries saw Avraham Burg win a narrow victory over Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. The latter contested the results, citing ballot fraud and Burg's victory was annulled, as a second round of votes was called, this time awarding victory to Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.
Ben-Eliezer led Labor to quit Ariel Sharon's government in 2002. Labor held primaries again in 2003, pitting Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Haim Ramon and Amram Mitzna against each other. Mitzna won the primaries, but lost Labor the general elections, subsequently stepping down. Shimon Peres was named temporary chairman of Labor once more.
In November 2005, Amir Peretz won
the party leadership, replacing Shimon Peres,
who quit the party and joined PM's Sharon Kadima party.
In 2006, following right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu Party joining Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's coalition,
many in Labor called on Perezt to pull the party out of the coalition. Labor eventually remained in government, but Peretz did not weather through the party's 2007 primaries. Ehud Barak won 51% of the votes and was elected Labor chief for the second time.
In 2010, Barak announced he was leaving labor in favor of forming a new political party. Shelly Yachimovich
won the following party's primaries.
- Israel is a Jewish state, home to all Jews around the world. The party sees dialogue as the key to bridge the Israeli society's gaps, while maintaining the Jewish heritage of Israel and cultivating Israel's relations with Jewish communities around the world.
- Labor will act to renew diplomatic negotiations while fighting violence and terror and maintaining Israel's security edge. In the event of a diplomatic freeze, Israel will undertake independent steps that would guarantee its security and diplomatic interests.
- Peace negotiations will be based on following principles: Two states for two nations whose borders will be determined in talks between the sides; Large West Bank settlement blocs will be part of Israel; Isolated settlements which are not part of settlement blocs will be evacuated. Jerusalem, with all its Jewish neighborhoods, will remain Israel's eternal capital and Jewish holy sites will remain in Israel's hands.
- Investment in West Bank construction will cease, and all unauthorized outposts will be evacuated.
- Labor will allocate government budgets fairly among all citizens, while setting targets for minimizing unemployment, raising minimum wage, and effective enforcement of Labor laws; boost government transparency; minimize social gaps and investment in developing national infrastructures, job creation, and nurturing of small businesses; boost environmental conservation; and introduce steps that would prevent educational gaps and guarantee high-quality free education starting from a young age, with an emphasis on science, democracy, and humanism.
- Labor will act to establish and implement fair relationships between religious and secular societies based on the reinforcement of Jewish character through educational means, separating religion from politics, guaranteeing freedom of religion and conscience to all citizens, and guaranteeing free access to all religious sites.
- The party will work to emphasize equality and eliminate all gaps between Arab and Jewish citizens in all areas.